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Religious Peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Roger B Alfani

Religious Peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo analyzes the contributions of three churches at both the leadership and the grassroots levels to conflict transformation in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. While states have long been considered main actors in addressing domestic conflicts, this book demonstrates that religious actors can play a significant role in peacebuilding efforts. In addition, rather than focusing exclusively on top-down approaches to conflict resolution, Religious Peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo incorporates viewpoints from both leaders of the Catholic, 3ème Communauté Baptiste au Centre de l’Afrique and Arche de l’Alliance in Goma and grassroots members of these three churches.

“This book is a clearly written and empirically grounded study of the role of churches and their followers in the making of conflict and peace in the Great Lakes region of eastern DRC. Alfani carefully places the views of church members in the city of Goma in North Kivu alongside relevant scholarly and theological accounts of the reasons for conflict and concomitant ways of making peace.” David M. Gordan, Professor of History, Bowdoin College

“Roger B. Alfani’s work on religion and peace-building makes a significant and welcome contri-bution to the scholarship on the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Few scholars of the region have done this kind of qualitative research on the subject, particularly in a way that so effectively engages both the leadership and grassroots members of diverse religious communities. Given the significance of religion to the everyday lives of individuals and communities in Eastern Congo, and to their overall understandings and perceptions of peace and conflict, such oversight is, indeed, troubling. Alfani’s work makes important steps toward developing a substantive, quali-tative, evidence-driven analysis of these issues. But more importantly, he does so with great nu-ance, paying attention to both the ways in which such communities can contribute to and exac-erbate conflict and the ways in which such communities encourage and facilitate peace building.” Nicole Eggers, Assistant Professor of African History, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

“In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Alfani gives a voice to religious peace activists who are usually voiceless in both the media and academic circles. His many interviewees are part of the silent majority of grassroots religious people and local religious leaders who demonstrate how religious faith and community is central to resilience in the midst of latent war conditions. This remarka-ble book is the result of courageous ethnographic research that not only sheds new light on the notions of peace and peacebuilding from the perspectives of persons living in a precarious context at many levels: political, economic, and social, but not spiritual! Dr. Alfani’s book also provides new contributions in matters of ethnographic theory and methodology when it comes to doing fieldwork in dangerous contexts, sharing his insights with great sensitivity to his informants’ need for security.” Patrice Brodeur, Professeur agrégé, Institut d’études religieuses, Université de Montréal