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Africa Regional Media Hub | Sept 20 Briefing with U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Thomas Perriello, U.S. Department of State


Please join us on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 7:15 AM EST/ 11:15 AM GMT for a telephonic press conference with U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Thomas Perriello of the Department of State.  The Special Envoy will discuss his recent trip to the region and will focus on the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and U.S. efforts to advance the electoral process, as well as the ongoing crisis in Burundi and U.S. support for regional efforts to reach a negotiated solution.


The DRC risks instability and violence in the coming months unless Congolese stakeholders can reach an agreement on plans for elections and the country’s first democratic transfer in executive power.   While the DRC Constitution calls for national elections to be held this November, the Government has done little to prepare for them, creating a political crisis made worse by crackdowns on political space and harassment of opposition and civil society members.  The African Union is currently facilitating a dialogue process among Congolese stakeholders to find a consensus path forward for elections.  However, major opposition leaders who do not trust the dialogue process have chosen not to participate.  The risk of a protracted political crisis and resulting instability is increasingly acute in the absence of consensus.  Special Envoy Perriello has just returned from Kinshasa, DRC, where he was meeting with all sides of this political dispute to support a path forward on timely elections.  

The situation in Burundi has deteriorated dramatically over the past year and a half and remains extremely volatile.  More than 290,000 Burundians have been forced to flee the country; and targeted assassinations, human rights violations, torture, and economic decline have come to define Burundi today.  The East African Community (EAC), under former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa’s leadership, is leading a dialogue amongst Burundian stakeholders to find a peaceful resolution to the current conflict.


Speakers: U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Tom Perriello      

Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 Time: 7:15 AM EST / 11:15 AM GMT

* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English.  French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules: On the record

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Twitter: We will use the hashtag #USonGreatLakes for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub , @US_SEGL and @TomPerriello.


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Thomas PerrielloSpecial Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, BUREAU OF AFRICAN AFFAIRS

Tom Perriello is the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, appointed by Secretary of State John Kerry on July 6, 2015. Prior to this role, he served as Special Representative for the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review for the U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Perriello previously served as a Congressman from Virginia, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a conflict analyst, and CEO of Center for American Progress Action. He has worked and conducted research in a dozen countries and taught courses on transitional justice at the University of Virginia School of Law and University of Sierra Leone.

Mr. Perriello was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s Fifth District in 2008. He served on the Veterans Affairs Committee and received distinguished marks from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association. He was a founding member of Leader Hoyer’s National Security Working Group, and received the Truman National Security Project’s annual award for wise leadership on foreign policy. He also advocated strongly for a national energy and climate strategy.

Outside of government, Mr. Perriello has co-founded and managed justice entrepreneurship platforms and faith-based organizations advancing human rights, poverty reduction and sustainability. He supported the peace processes in Sierra Leone and Darfur and has conducted periodic research in Afghanistan on justice and security. Since early 2011, he has conducted field research and analysis on reformist movements and leaders in Egypt and the Middle East independently and as Counselor for Policy to the Center for American Progress.

He is from Charlottesville, VA, and is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Department of State.