Lisa Rogoff

Lisa Rogoff (Survivor Corps in Rwanda): Lisa has spent much of her professional career promoting human rights. She earned a BA from Colgate University. She then worked for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience where she produced Voices on Genocide Prevention, a weekly podcast. Lisa then worked at the ENOUGH Project, directing campaigns to raise awareness about the crises in Sudan, Congo and Uganda. Lisa returned to academia to pursue a joint-degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business. While at Georgetown she worked at the Clinton Global Initiative, designing the Human Rights and Peace Track for the CGI’s second annual conference for university students. During her first year at graduate school, Lisa also worked with the Grassroots and Issues Management Team at APCO Worldwide, a global communications consulting firm. After her fellowship, Lisa wrote: "My experience in Rwanda has taught me the importance of flexibility. I’ve also seen the importance of empowering women...I don’t know that I’ve changed the way I look at myself, though I have come to understand just how fortunate I am to have been born in my circumstances. I have met so many wonderful and talented men and women in Rwanda who have been unable to realize their fullest potential because of their economic, social, or political situations.”



Gisenyi to Goma and Back Again

24 Jul

Last weekend, I traveled with fellow Survivor Corps Africa fellows, Bryan and Laura, to Gisenyi – a beach town in Rwanda on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo – and then to Goma.  Laura did a nice job summing up our time in Gisenyi, so other than my pictures, I’ll let her words speak for that part of the trip.

Goma, however, was another world.  On Sunday morning, we – Bryan, Laura, my house mate Parker, and I – crossed over the border into the Congo.  The city – if you can really call it that – is covered in dried lava, litter, United Nations vehicles, and poverty.  As we walked through the town, we quickly learned that there was not much to see or do other than avoid being attacked by the guy following us carrying a large rock (he threw the rock at passing UN trucks, but each time retrieved it and continued his stalking of the four muzungus).

Goma

Goma

Soccer Game in Goma

Soccer Game in Goma

I have done policy and advocacy work for the DRC, studied its history and current events in grad school, and have always wanted to visit.  But, perhaps I had not given enough thought to the widespread poverty and the deteriorating security situation.  It wasn’t until I returned that I got an email from Walter, the AP fellow living in Uvira, who told me that “visiting Goma would not be a good idea, especially since there are civilian massacres going on up there.”  Our short time in Goma was not only scary, but depressing.  As Goma is only one small town in a massive country experiencing these symptoms throughout, is there any hope for recovery?

Goma's Beach Front Properties

Goma's Beach Front Properties

There are some organizations doing great work in and on the DRC.  Women for Women, which I visited in Rwanda, is also in Congo (which is where I sponsor a sister).  My old organization, ENOUGH, has a bunch of interesting advocacy campaigns going on (and I have been hanging out with the coordinators of the Congo campaign this weekend, learning more about what they are doing).  I will continue to support these efforts, and I know that they are making a difference, but walking through the wasteland of Goma and seeing its children with the bad fortune of simply being born there, left me feeling quite hopeless.

Children in Goma

Children in Goma

Posted By Lisa Rogoff

Posted Jul 24th, 2009

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