Fidele Lumeya, MA ’00
Silver Spring, Maryland
Fidele Lumeya feels that much of the material he covered to obtain his master’s degree in conflict transformation actually was embodied in African traditions of living in community, working out problems peaceably, and practicing reconciliation.
Fidele articulated some of his views in a 2009 French-language book The Culture of Peace: From Traditional African and Judeo-Christian Perspectives. He has just finished writing The Congo: The Long Road to Peace and Justice, in which he proposes Africa-rooted restorative justice practices as the way to address deep-seated, real issues rather than their symptoms.
In 2001, Fidele co-wrote a training manual, African Culture: Source of Conflict, Resource for Peace, which he used in teaching an “introduction to conflict transformation” course at the African Peacebuilding Institute held at the Mindolo Ecumenical Center in Zambia. The manual has been published in English and Portuguese and has been used by the Council of Christian Churches of Angola, the Council for Church of Christ in Angola and JustaPaz, based in Mozambique.
Like many of his fellow graduates of CTP, Fidele says funding is at, or near, the top of the challenges faced by people in the peacebuilding field. “Agencies will fund you for one week of training, but there is [generally] no money for follow-up, for the long-term work necessary to sustain the momentum begun by the week of training.”
Fidele credits Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Catholic Relief Services and Church World Service for funding difficult work at the grassroots level year after year, decade after decade, rather than basing their funding on the social-issue fads that tend to sweep through the peacebuilding field.
Fidele enrolled in CTP in 1998 after three years of working for MCC in the war-torn eastern section of the Congo and in Swaziland. After earning his master’s degree, Fidele resumed his work with MCC, this time in Zambia and Angola from 2001 to 2003.
Fidele is the executive director of the Congolese American Council for Peace and Justice (www.cacpdusa.org). He is a French-language commentator on justice and peace issues for the Voice of America.