I visited UCBC in Beni last year and spent the week in meetings with the Congo Board and attending the convocation ceremony to open the new school year. Having lived and worked in Africa for over 30 years, I can truly say that I have never been anywhere in Africa that was so full of hope, excitement and potential for transformation. The UCBC campus is a beacon of light to the community and is poised to become a model of 21st century education for Africa. As a US board member I am honored to be part of an authentic partnership with the Congo board and part of a real transformative organization.
I joined the US Board supporting the work at UCBC in Congo after meeting the dynamic president, Dr. David Kasali. He has a bold, clear vision for creating a university backed by a substantial personal history in higher education and ministry. In 2010 I witnessed UCBC at work in war ravaged eastern Congo - very close to the border with Uganda. There is no question this well managed higher education community, which graduated its first class this June, is building a dynamic cadre of nation builders. It is being watched closely by the Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Higher Education in Kinshasha which sees in the integration of high quality academic training with a commitment to community engagement through service-learning a model for higher education throughout the country.
I recently retired - after 28 years - serving as founding CEO of a national NGO ( National Youth Leadership Council) with outreach to every state and more than 30 nations. UCBC is a sound investment in a region in great need of what UCBC offers. My suggestion to potential donors is go to the Congo, see for yourself.
I also suggest financial investments over several years to support scholarships for students and salary for faculty. Whatever resources are invested will receive the highest level of accountability. Feel free to contact me.
Jim Kielsmeier Ph.D
Founder, Senior Scholar
National Youth Leadership Council
I have been connected to Congo Initiative since it was simply a dream in the heart and mind of its founder, Dr. David Kasali. Growing up in Congo as a child, going through the conflicts of Independence, reading about and praying for DRC - Democratic Republic of the Congo - and its peoples, and visiting eastern DRC numerous times in the past fifteen years, it is clear to me that what is needed is a revolution, not of tribalism with guns and machetes, but a revolution in ethical, principled leadership. This is what Congo Initiative is doing through its diverse programs, serving university students, women and children, the church, and emerging leadership. There are many good organizations working to improve the lives of those in Congo who have suffered greatly; Congo Initiative is not simply a good organization, it is GREAT, with principled leadership and a far-reaching vision that is being lived out daily.
Congo Initiative has been a gift and an opportunity to learn and grow.
Our Congolese sisters and brothers are living examples of what it means to seek to be transformed in order to transform. They are examples of love and commitment:
- D. and K. left the safety of Kenya to return to their home country during the height of civil war to serve as salt and light and agents of transformation.
- J. survived atrocities of conflict, and now embraces as sisters and brothers, those from the group that had destroyed his village.
- A. is studying to be a counselor and work with those who have been traumatized by war and abuse.
- D. and A. give their time to run programs for local children (one a soccer program the other an after school Bible program), even though they can barely pay for their own tuition. They give of their time for others before they worry about their own needs.
- Many students have left their families, including young children, to study at UCBC. They know the quality of the education and the integrity of the work will develop their skills and cultivate their minds and hearts to be bearers of truth and light and leaders of change.