Promoting Peace & Health in East Africa: An Introduction

17 01 2012

By Caroline Hope Griffith
DGHI Associate in Research

Three nights ago, I was asked by a fellow traveler on my KLM flight from Detroit to Amsterdam where I was going and why. It was difficult to provide a coherent response at 2 am high above the Atlantic Ocean, but I managed to tell him that I was traveling to Uganda for seven days to participate in the Great Lakes Initiative (GLI) Institute, a five day conference organized by the Duke Divinity School and its partners in East Africa. The meeting brings together Christian leaders from the African Great Lakes region working to promote peace and reconciliation in their communities. I explained that I was going to learn, to experience, and to be inspired by these leaders who have experienced unimaginable trauma, yet have been able to use their gifts to bring healing and forgiveness to their communities and countries.

He was intrigued and asked me more about my work at Duke and in Uganda. I explained that I work with the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke Divinity School and the Duke Fuqua School of Business on projects that bring together health, faith, and business leaders to address health challenges in Africa. As a participant in the GLI Institute, I will have the opportunity to learn about how East African leaders are practicing “holistic ministry”, i.e., how these grassroots leaders are meeting the spiritual as well as physical needs of their congregations and communities by addressing social, economic, and political issues such as community health, status of women and girls, education and vocational training, corruption and weak leadership, and conflict in all its forms, using biblical texts and a theological perspective.

I continued by saying that one of my jobs at this year’s GLI Institute will be to work with a small but powerful group of doctors, nurses, and community health leaders from Tanzania, Congo, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda and the U.S. to think about the relationship between health and reconciliation in the Great Lakes Region and how we could formally integrate a focus on health (through workshops and plenary sessions) into the Institute next year. We will also encourage these leaders to identify ways to incorporate the experiences and skills that they acquire at the Institute into their work in their home communities.

As you can tell, I gave my fellow traveler on the KLM flight an earful about my upcoming trip. But he only received a brief introduction to my time in Uganda. Over the next week, I hope to give you more than an introduction. I will use this blog to share with you some of the most exciting stories, insights, and pictures from my time with this inspiring group of leaders.





4 responses

17 01 2012

Fantastic, Caroline! Thanks so much for this terrific post. We look forward to following you on this important journey.

17 01 2012

great kickoff — thanks, Caroline


17 01 2012

Great post! Can’t wait to read more about your work! Sooo proud of you!!! 🙂

26 01 2012
Can Caxson Ray

It was a blessing participating together with you in the recently concluded Great Lakes Leadership Institute.I got inspired by the stories of great leaders who went through times of turbulence,but were able to improve conditions in the Great Lakes region.

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