Sunday, January 10, 2016 (All day) to Saturday, January 16, 2016 (All day)
Kampala, Uganda

The Center for Reconciliation, in partnership with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), World Vision International (WVI), and African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), will hold the second annual Great Lakes Initiative Leadership Institute, January 10-16, 2016 at Ggaba National Seminary in Kampala, Uganda.

The Great Lakes Initiative Leadership Institute is designed for restless Christian leaders who are passionate about peace and reconciliation.

Modeled after the Duke Summer Institute, the five-day program offers participants an opportunity to interact with and learn from some of the most remarkable and dynamic Christian leaders in East Africa, including leaders like Wilfred Mlay, Celestin Musekura, Bishop Paride Taban, Maggy Barankitse, Angelina Atyam, Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Bishop Zac Niringiye, David Kasali, Sr Rosemary Nyirumbe, and Katho Bungishabaku.

All participants learn together each morning in a common journey led by such seasoned leaders. There are afternoon seminars where participants intensively engage a specific theme with others who have similar interest and expertise. “Embracing Reconciliation for Children,” “Pursuing Peace for Healing and Reconciliation of Multi-Faith Communities,” and “Pastoral Leadership and the Reconciling Church” are just a few examples of seminars offered in 2015. At the center of the Leadership Institute is a common pilgrimage to a local community of peace and hope, offering a concrete example of a reconciling community.

Over the five days of Leadership Institute participants will hear from distinguished plenary speakers in the mornings and actively engage in their thematic seminars in the afternoons. Each day will begin with worship and will include shared meals to foster relationship-building. Throughout the week there will be times of rest and reflection so that participants can individually process what they are learning or simply take a break from their busy schedules. In the middle of the Leadership Institute, everyone will journey together on a pilgrimage.



Since 2006, the Great Lakes Initiative (GLI) has organized yearly gatherings in East Africa to bring together a dynamic mix of practitioners and scholars to share stories and learn practices of reconciliation that are biblically grounded, contextual, and practical for the Great Lakes region. The first two gatherings were held in Kampala, Uganda, and the second two were held in Bujumbura, Burundi. At the fourth gathering, in Bujumbura, leaders expressed the need for more opportunities for formation and learning of the skills, methods, and stories that sustain the vision and practice of reconciliation.

To respond to this need, the Center for Reconciliation invited representatives from the GLI’s core partners and other key leaders from the Great Lakes Region to the Duke Summer Institute (May 31-June 6, 2010) for a five-day consultation. From this consultation emerged affirmation of the need for more learning and formation opportunities and an emerging vision for the next chapter of the GLI—intensive, five-day leadership institutes.

Over a series of meetings, the vision for a new chapter of the Great Lakes Initiative unfolded with an annual Leadership Institute as the core program.  The first Great Lakes Initiative Leadership Institute was held on January 16-22, 2011, at Ggaba National Seminary in Kampala, Uganda with 135 participants from around the region.  From this overwhelming response, the Great Lakes Initiative has committed to continuing these annual institutes to resource God’s growing movement for reconciliation.


Seminars for the 2016 Leadership Institute are listed below. Participants will engage in the same seminar throughout the week.

Pursuing Peace for Healing and Reconciliation of Multi-Faith Communities

This seminar will focus on equipping participants with Biblical insights on how to build conducive social environments in which multi-faith communities live together in harmony and mutual respect. Biblical perspective on peace-building in the light of escalating religious-inspired attacks against Christians will be discussed. Participants will deepen their understanding of the complexities facing the majority of Muslim communities that do not subscribe to the violence perpetrated by the radical fringe groups. Promising models of peace promotion in the multi-faith context of East Africa will be presented and possibilities of their adoption in various social cultural settings in East Africa will be explored. The participants will also review their own practical theology of what it means to model Christ as peacemakers when their efforts are often not reciprocated by leaders of other faiths.

Facilitators: Ibrahim Dima and Dave Robinson


The Prophetic Word in Conflict Zones: Lament and Hope, Judgment and Healing

This seminar will bring together students and scholars from Duke Divinity School and East Africa. Drawing on modern trauma theory and focusing on key passages from Isaiah, Jeremiah and Nahum, we will explore ways in which conflict-torn communities can find hope and healing in prophetic laments and (even) in judgment oracles. 

Facilitators: Ellen Davis, Jacob Onyumbe Wenyi and Katho Bungishabaku


Pastoral Leadership and the Reconciling Church

How can the African Church become the reconciled and reconciling space that the Scriptures intend it to be especially in light of the current fractures within families (some within the Church) within and between various communities, clans, tribes and nation states? Much of the cause of the fracture within families in the church centers on issues of pastoral diagnoses and appropriate care for ailing persons and their extended families. If the church is to be the provisional demonstration of the Kingdom of God, then it is crucial that pastoral leadership pay attention to its theological underpinnings for its practices. In this seminar, we will first look at places of brokenness as we seek to create a new flourishing community of believers through confession and lament. We will explore dimensions of pastoral leadership and authority in biblical and theological perspective as we build foundations for healing and wholeness as the bedrock for living into God’s Shalom.

Facilitator: Esther Acolatse


Practical Spirituality to Sustain Peace Builders

The ministry of peace-building is challenging and can lead to discouragement. The seminar will be a safe space where participants can share experiences, challenges, and obstacles we face in our calling as ambassadors of reconciliation. We will learn practices and disciplines for personal spirituality and name and give thanks for God’s gifts in our lives that encourage us to continue our journeys of faith and love.

Facilitators: Violette Nyirarukundo and Faith Mlay


Restorative Justice in African Contexts

Restorative justice suggests a process that leads to healing and restoration of the social fabric in the wake of violence and injustice, rather than justice as revenge or punishment.  Its principles resonate with most of us who work towards reconciliation, yet many people question whether restorative justice has delivered – or can deliver – “genuine” justice to all.  In this seminar we will look at foundational principles of restorative justice, examine and ask questions about several examples from within African contexts, and imagine how we might best shape a model of justice focused on involving victims, offenders, and affected community members in putting things right.

Facilitator: Muigai Ndoka


A strong group of experienced practitioners and scholars will be organized to lead all of the seminars at the Leadership Institute, such as the influential leaders below.

Professor Wilfred Mlay is currently the GLI Ambassador. Before this role, he served as World Vision International Regional Ambassador for Africa. Prior to that as the Regional Vice President for Africa, and prior to that as the Regional Director for East Africa with the International Bible Society. Wilfred was born on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and was educated at the University of Dar-es-Salaam and the University of London. A professor and former academic dean in Tanzania, Wilfred notes that the Bible and poverty alleviation as two of his greatest passions in life. Learn about Wilfred’s perspective on poverty »

Daniel Muvengi

Daniel is the Regional Advisor World Vision International and the East Africa Region-Faith & Development/Christian Commitments Programming Director. In this role, he is responsible to ensure that World Vision’s humanitarian and development programs maintain the link to, and are consistent with, the mission of the organization and reflect its Christian commitments. As a regional leader for World Vision, Daniel does extensive training for pastors and Christian leaders across Africa, lifting up a vision for the church to engage in holistic ministry as an agent of transformation and reconciliation for the continent of Africa.

Violette Nyirarukundo

Violette is the founder of El- Ezer Counseling Ministry (ECM) based in Kigali, which offers counseling and training for lay counselors from various church denominations and Christian organizations. A survivor of the 1994 genocide in her native Rwanda, Violette graduated from Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST) with a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling. She is on the faculty of the African Peacebuilding Institute (API) in Zambia at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation (MEF) where she teaches a seminar on “Comparative Approaches to Trauma Healing and Reconciliation.” She also serves as a facilitator at RECONCILE in Yei, South Sudan. Read an interview with Violette »

Celestin Musekura

Celestin is the President and Founder of the African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM, Inc.), a ministry training Church and community leaders in Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia in areas of leadership development, biblical and theological studies, conflict resolution, communal forgiveness, and reconciliation. He is an ordained Baptist minister who was born and raised in Rwanda. He received a Bachelor of Theology at Kenya Highlands Bible College in Kenya, a Master of Divinity at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) in Kenya, and a Master of Sacred Theology and a Ph.D. in theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Celestin’s Assessment of Contemporary Models of Forgiveness has just been published (Peter Lang Publishing Inc., New York 2010). His book, Forgiving as We’ve Been Forgiven, co-authored with L. Gregory Jones, will be released in November 2010 by InterVarsity Press as part of the Center for Reconciliation’s Resources for Reconciliation series.

Katho Bungishabaku

Katho is the President of Shalom University of Bunia (SUB). A graduate of University of Natal, South Africa with a Ph.D. in Old Testament, Katho witnessed the devastation of his native region of Nyakunde in Eastern Congo, where more than 2,000 people were killed in 2002. Through SUB, he initiated a ministry to help reconstruct their villages, rebuild people’s lives and rebuild the hospital that serves as a foundation for the area.

Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe

Sr. Rosemary is the director of the St. Monica Girls Tailoring Centre in Gulu, Uganda, which was started as a vocational training school in 1975. As the director of the centre, Sr. Rosemary directs other African nuns of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in training disadvantaged girls and young women who have been victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Gulu. In 2007, Sr. Rosemary’s work in her community was honored with the 2007 CNN Heroes Award.

David Kasali

David is President of the Congo Initiative and Rector of the Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC). David earned a Master’s degree in geography and education in Congo in 1980, and is a graduate of the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology — NEGST — (M.Div., 1987), and of Trinity International University (TIU) Chicago, Illinois— Ph.D. in New Testament. David served for two years as a faculty member and eight years as President of Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST). While serving at NEGST, the Kasalis felt called by the Lord to help rebuild lives, families and communities in Congo. Together, he and his wife created Congo Initiative. The Kasalis relocated permanently to DRC in 2007 to formally inaugurate Congo Initiative's UCBC, which even though only in its second year, has close to 150 students enrolled.


A key component of the Leadership Institute is a pilgrimage in which all participants journey to a nearby location where an organization has become a beacon of hope for the local context, nation, region, and sometimes international community. In the past, the Leadership Institute participants have traveled to St. Jude’s Organic Farm and Training Centre in Masaka District, a 3.7-acre organic teaching farm that grew from the lament of civil war in Uganda and has had global influence in the sustainable farming movement.  Participants have also gone on pilgrimage to the Uganda Martyr’s Shrines, located in Kampala.

Cost & Application


The Leadership Institute will be held at Ggaba National Seminary’s beautiful and quiet campus just outside of Kampala. Housing, meals, and the Leadership Institute events will be held on the campus.

The cost to attend the Leadership Institute is $600 USD, which includes tuition, room, and board. Due to generous grants of our core partner organizations, there is scholarship money available to cover the participation fee. Furthermore, limited scholarships will be available to cover transportation costs. Requests for scholarships can be found in the registration site.

For questions, please e-mail the GLI Regional Coordinator or call +1 (919) 660-3578 (U.S.) or +256 782 52 0702 (Uganda)



If you require a paper application, please email to request an application form. To be considered for a scholarship, applications are due no later than October 15, 2015.