Delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo Visits AUNE

DRC visitors 002

Front row: Sam Werikne, AUNE PhD student; Apollinaire William, AUNE PhD student ; Jim Gruber, ES faculty member.
Back row: M’Vita d. M’Bambi, DRC; Michael Simpson, chair of ES Department; Rufus Mfingi, DRC; Tabin Tangila, DRC; Jean-Baptiste Muamba, DRC.

Four representatives from academic institutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including its Ministry of Higher Education and Kasa Vubu University, spent a day this week at AUNE discussing the potential for collaboration with AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies (ES). The possibilities include student and faculty exchanges, AUNE training, research sites in the DRC, and a joint PhD degree between AUNE and Kasa Vubu.

Conservation and management of natural resources especially concerns the delegation, in particular the tropical forests in the Congo Basin, which the DRC shares with several other countries.  But the country has few indigenous scientists knowledgeable about conservation biology.  Only a few people are trained to tackle the problem, said M’Vita d. M’Bambi. Now the Congolese are facing plenty of projects and problems with no trained people.

Environmental science is a relatively new field in the DRC. One approach would be for AUNE to train conservation biologists in the DRC, who would in turn be able to train their own scientists.

The group decided to plan a larger meeting in the fall, with an eye to signing a cooperative agreement.