December 13, 2018
Monday, December 10, 2018, marked the 70th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On that date, the Promise Institute for Human Rights, spearheaded by AGBU Central Board member Dr. Eric Esrailian, hosted a book release event for Congo Stories, written by American activist John Prendergast and Congolese activist Fidel Bafilemba, at Fowler Museum at UCLA. The book depicts the history of exploitation of the Congolese people and their natural resources, and features photographs taken by actor Ryan Gosling, who was also in attendance. AGBU Western District Communications Director, Lusine Daglian, and Programs Coordinator, Suzy Sargsyan were also present for the event.
A deep discussion with the authors and afterword writer, Chouchou Namegabe, was followed by a Q&A session. “I am not asking for money,” explained Bafilemba, “I am asking you to become an activist, like me,” he continued. Bafilemba urged the audience to use the book as a resource to getting involved in the activist movement to protect Congo and its citizens. He urged all attendees to work diligently with local officials to encourage companies to source raw materials in a responsible and transparent way.
Attendees were given the opportunity to meet with and have their book copies signed by Prendergast, Bafilemba, Namegabe, and Gosling once the discussion portion of the event concluded.