Dr. Denis Mukwege satisfied with the 4th Mukwege Chair Congress

Scientists from all over the world met in France, at the University of Angers from June 5 to 7, for the 4th international congress of the Mukwege Chair. With “Sexual violence and childhood in war” as its theme, this reunion, following on from the Chaire de Liège (Belgium) in 2019 and the one in Bukavu (DRC) in 2022, will have lived up to all its promises, by putting the issue of the fate of children affected by sexual violence in times of armed conflict around the world on the scientific agenda.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, personally took part in this scientific cenacle, expressing his satisfaction with the debates and the appropriation of the subject of sexual violence by the world’s scientific community. This moment, which for the Congolese gynecologist is “a dream moment”, allows scientists and experts to address this issue, has only recently attracted the world’s interest.

Ten years ago, the world was wondering what should be done about this issue of sexual violence, where apparently there was no way out. Reference was made to the lack of interest in combating sexual violence a few years ago.

The Congolese gynecologist was also attracted by the theme chosen for the 4th international chair bearing his name: “Sexual violence and childhood in war”. For him, the fact that armed conflicts are reported all over the planet calls for global involvement, in order to find a solution to the issue of children affected by sexual violence in war zones.

“I have to say that now is the time, because conflicts are emerging everywhere, on every continent. And I believe that we have a role to play in alerting the international community, in alerting our society to the destruction of children, to all those children who are born of rape, and that these children who are unfortunately rejected constitute a time bomb for our society”.

The Chair’s fourth conference will bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines (medical and health professionals, psychologists, jurists, anthropologists, historians, economists, philosophers, etc.) working on this theme.
Representatives of NGOs and practitioners working in the field are also invited to take part.

“The International Chair on ‘Violence against women and girls in conflicts’ (abbreviated to ‘Mukwege Chair’) is the fruit of an initiative by Professor Emeritus (ULiège) Véronique De Keyser, Honorary Member of the European Parliament,
following Dr. Denis Mukwege’s initial contacts in November 2013 with psychologists from the Faculty of Psychology, Logopedics and Educational Sciences (FPLSE) and doctors at Liège University Hospital, with the aim of setting up cooperative programs to monitor survivors of sexual violence.

It is creating an international research network on the theme of sexual violence suffered by women in conflict situations. The aim is to promote cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary research, and thus gain a better understanding of both the prevention and follow-up of women victims of sexual violence.
This chair is open to various universities that have already welcomed Dr Denis Mukwege, including those that have awarded him an honorary doctorate.

The first Congress took place from November 13 to 15, 2019 at the University of Liège in Belgium. The second Congrès was held November 1-3, 2022, at the Université Évangélique en Afrique in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The third Congress, was held again in Liège, Belgium, on November 23 and 24, 2023. And the fifth Congress will be held from December 3 to 6, 2024 at the Palais des Congrès, in Montreal, Canada.

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