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Peacebuilding in Practice: Africa and Beyond

25/09/2021 @ 8:30 am - 10:00 am


Join us for a lively, interactive discussion on what can be learned from successful grassroots peacebuilding strategies in the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond. The panel will base their discussion on “The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World” by Séverine Autesserre. This book was launched in Australia on September 22, as part of the Raising Peace Festival. To view a recording of the launch and hear from the author, please go to the Festival website. The book is available at Gleebooks and online.

Peacebuilding in Africa and Beyond

The panellists, who have experience around the globe, will welcome questions and insights from the audience. Please scroll down for background on these fabulous women!

Dr Vera Sistenich

Dr Vera Sistenich

I am a specialist in emergency medicine working with HandUp Congo, a small NGO, to build an emergency medicine education project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The aim is to insert emergency medicine into the national curriculum of medical training and to develop a medical system better equipped to service the population during individual or public health crises. From the inception of the project, we have striven to make it a grassroots project. We asked the local population what it needs, and sought Congolese doctors and nurses locally and from the international diaspora, to participate and lead the initiative. At the same time, we have worked to connect the Congolese emergency medicine community with each other, with national academic and governmental entities, and to the international community. Please see: SBS Radio 

Dr Nadine Shema

Dr Nadine Shema

I am the co-founder of the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International (GLAPD www.glapd.org.au) and serve as the agency‘s Settlement Operations Manager and Public Relations Officer. I lived for many years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and was trained as a medical doctor in Rwanda. I am a public health professional and a refugee advocate. I hold a double Master‘s degree in Public Health and Health Management (UNSW). Since my 2011 arrival in Australia, I have devoted myself to the welfare of refugees and migrants from the troubled Great Lakes region of Africa (mainly Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the D.R. Congo) by promoting peace, harmony and development among those people, both in Australia and internationally. 

Dr Megan Cox

Dr Megan Cox

I’m a senior Emergency Specialist who has been working internationally for 25 years. I had the privilege of living and working for over 8 years in Africa, working alongside incredibly humble, intelligent and kind colleagues developing the first locally trained doctors and medical specialists for Botswana. My position there also led me to supervise many high-income country healthcare professionals coming to Botswana as medical volunteers. Now back in Sydney I help train and teach students interested in becoming global health practitioners, as well as working clinically for NSW Health and Ambulance.

Dr Lydia Wanja Gitau

Moderator:  Dr Lydia Wanja Gitau

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow (Psychosocial Practice) in the University of New South Wales’ fEEL Lab (felt Experience & Empathy Lab), School of Art and Design. I am  also an Honorary Associate in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney, where I completed my PhD in 2016. My research was published by Springer in a monograph entitled Trauma-sensitivity and Peacebuilding: Considering the Case of South Sudanese Refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp.  I have previously worked as a counsellor in Kenya, and as a trainer and trauma counsellor with NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). My research is focused on examining and engaging in post-conflict interventions that have potential to support long-lasting peace for survivors of conflict and mass violence.


This event includes performances by The Omari Sisters and Rojé Ndayambaje, refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who now call Australia home.

Miriam and Gemimah, The Omari Sisters

Miriam and Gemimah, The Omari Sisters

Watch “Introducing The Omari Sisters Music” here

Rojé Ndayambaje, spoken word poet

Rojé Ndayambaje, spoken word poet

Watch “Mural of a Refugee Child” here

Tickets from: Eventbrite


8:30 am - 10:00 am




HandUp Congo in collaboration with the University of Sydney and the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development (GLAPD)
View Organiser Website