Strengthening the Congolese Community: Background, Resettlement and Treatment

1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST
Online Webinar

This webinar on December 11, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm EST is hosted by the National Partnership for Community Training, a program of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services.

The ongoing refugee crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the result of almost 16 years of violent conflict and unrest. By the end of 2012, over 2.4 million Congolese had been internally displaced and close to 500,000 had become refugees*. Ongoing instability in what is considered one of the most violent and war torn regions in the world has led to large scale trauma and torture.

Since 2000, the United States has resettled almost 12,000** refugees from the DRC, which is comprised of 250 ethnic groups and 700 languages. The diversity of the DRC makes it difficult to generalize about the abilities of the Congolese refugees coming into the US; however this webinar will offer some valuable background on the country and the conflict, up-to-date resettlement information, and best, promising, and emerging therapeutic practices.

“DR Congo – Levels of Conflict” presented by author and Amnesty International DRC country expert, Dr. Thomas Turner will assist those working with the Congolese to sort out the multitude of conflicting claims surrounding the DRC. Participants will gain knowledge of the political and social history of DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya.

“Working with Refugees from the DRC” presented by Associate Director for Resettlement and Integration at Church World Service, Sandra Vines will give participants a greater understanding of general resettlement related specifically to the Congolese. Participants will be able to identify challenges impacting behavioral health and three ways in which they can adjust their daily practice in order to maximize services to the Congolese.

“Rien n’ est facile, mais tout est possible:” psychological treatment with Congolese survivors of torture presented by Clinical Director at Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Dr. Hawthorne Smith will provide information on the profound emotional challenges associated with the multiple traumas and ongoing displacement experienced by Congolese refugees, as well as explore and highlight some effective approaches and interventions geared toward facilitating healing, connection and self-sufficiency. Participants will learn assessment, interpersonal engagement, as well as trauma-informed and culturally relevant service provision.

Dr. Thomas Turner is an author, consultant, and Volunteer Country Specialist on Democratic Republic of Congo for Amnesty international USA. Dr. Thomas has taught at universities in DR Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Tunisia, and the United States. He is the author of Congo (Global Hotspots Series, Polity Press, 2013) and The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth and Reality (Zed Books, 2007).

Sandra Vines is the Associate Director, Resettlement & Integration at Church World Service in New York, NY. Ms Vines joined the CWS headquarters team in December 2010 after nearly five years working overseas with the US Refugee Admissions Program. In her current role, she oversees domestic refugee Reception and Placement, Matching Grant and Preferred Communities Program activities.

Dr. Hawthorne Smith is a licensed psychologist and Clinical Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. He is also an Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Smith speaks extensively at professional conferences and seminars on providing clinical services for survivors of socio-political violence, and enhancing cross-cultural clinical skills among therapeutic service providers.

* Refugees International
**Office of Refugee Resettlement