My Time in DR Congo and Other Random Observations

March 8th 2012, 7:00 pm — 8:30 pm

Location: Mercy Corps Action Center

What: My Time in the Congo and Other Random Observations, an evening with Mercy Corps’ Lorina McAdam, former Country Director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This lecture has STANDING ROOM ONLY as of March 5.

When: Thursday, March 8, 7 p.m.

Where: At the Mercy Corps Action Center, 28 SW 1st Avenue (on the Max Skidmore Fountain stop), Portland, Oregon, 97204. 503-896-5747.

We're taking advantage of a rare Portland visit by Mercy Corps’ former Congo Country Director, Lorina McAdam, to feature her in a talk on International Women's Day. Looking back on 13 years in international development, McAdam will focus on her most recent four in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It's a good time for reflection: After Portland, McAdam heads off on an extended "walkabout" before returning to Mercy Corps for a new challenge.

DR Congo has a long history of deadly civil war and corruption. Relatively large—about the size of the United States east of the Mississippi—DRC has a population of 71,712,867, approximately 250 African ethnic groups and 242 languages. Infant mortality rate is 37.74/1000 live births (2011 estimate) and life expectancy is 51.3 years.

Approximately 800,000 children are orphans due to AIDS and 20% of the children do not live past the age of five. Congo is ranked fourth on the Failed States Index, and is currently rock bottom on the Human Development Index (187th out of 187), despite its abundant natural resources.

An Australian, McAdam will give us her personal and professional perspective of her experience in DRC, including discussion about the struggles of women in a country that is considered to be the most dangerous country to be a woman. She has also worked in South Sudan, Kenya, Honduras, and Laos.