“Don’t let your passport stop you and other South to South work stories” by Christian Cito Cirhigiri
Like the series Friends, the days of having “Northern Experts” working in the Global South are so 1990s. Now, not only do we have Netflix but also it is possible to find a Congolese peace activist and researcher that lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia. Yes!!. This episode of the Social Change Career Podcast explores the life and career of Christian Cito Cirhigiri. He has eight years experience supporting youth participation in peace building processes in Eastern Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and now Colombia. Christian is the founder of Peacemaker 360, a global campaign that connects young peace building professionals through storytelling. He currently is leading a countrywide study in Colombia funded by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. In Episode 4 of Season 4 (click here to listen) learn how Christian Cito is NOT afraid of using his passport and changing the world. Today in Bogotá…. And next? Stay tuned.
Episode 4 of Season 4 is brought to you by The Rotary Peace Fellowship and the Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University.
In this episode we discuss:
- Christian Cito’s early years in Eastern Congo as a twin born in 1987 (Cito means: “second born”) and coming from a family of 11. He greatly enjoyed his childhood.
- His experience with peace-related topics began in 1994 with the Rwanda genocide as refugees arrived. Christian was shocked to see the refugees speaking a foreign language.
- How young Christian made friends with Remi, a Rwandan refugee who taught him how to ride a bike.
- How a rebellion in the DRC to overthrow Mobutu’s dictatorship prompted Christian to become a refugee himself.
- At a very early age, it was clear that Christian was curious and eager to learn more about his surroundings and the dynamics of conflict/peace.
- How Christian got a scholarship to study in Kenya for his undergraduate degree in Community Development.
- His experience returning in 2010 to DRC to work for a Dutch-based organization where focused his work on youth and peacebuilding.
- In 2012 he started his own non–profit that engages young people in arts and communication.
- He was then selected to be a part of this Obama’s Initiative Young African Leadership Initiative.
- How he met President Obama in 2014 along with other 500 Young African leaders.
- At the same time, he was preparing his application to Notre Dame for the MA in International Peace from 2014-2016.
- His experiences Founding two non–profits: Bukabu Youth Action Center and Peace360.
- Christian reflects on his trajectory: on mentors and compassion.
- How Christian landed his first job with the Dutch organization.
- Christian’s volunteering experience as a way to deal with unemployment.
- His reflections on his MA experience at the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame.
- How Christian developed his interest in communication and peacebuilding and the work of Peace360 that has covered 4000 activists stories in 45 countries and working on a group that will be launched at the end of June 2019.
- Christian’s work in Colombia.
- Similarities and differences between Colombia and Congo.
- What Christian likes and what drives him crazy in Colombia.
- Why Christian’s field experience and knowledge gave him an edge in landing his positions in Colombia.
- How to use south-to-south relations as a way to enter into the peacebuilding field.
- Christian’s take on going to grad school.
- Grad school as a way to prevent burn-out from deeply protracted and stressful environments.
- What does it mean to travel with a DRC passport? The realities of south-to-south traveling with less popular passports.
- Key skills for the future of Peacebuilding and Development.
- The importance of developing original thinking.
- Top three things that folks should do to develop a career of impact.
- Young African Leadership Initiative
- Bukabu Youth Action Center
- Notre Dame Kroc Institute
- Dak Hammarskjöld Foundation
- Christian’s Cito Linkedin Profile
- The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame
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This episode was brought thanks to the Rotary Peace Fellowship and Brandeis University:
Are you an existing or emerging peace leader looking to take your career to the next level? You might be eligible to receive full funding to pursue a MA or professional certificate in peace & conflict studies. Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships at www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships
The MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at Brandeis University ,where you gain the practical, hands on skills you need to become a peacebuilding professional in the U.S. and abroad.