Addressing Real-world Tragedy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Professor Langholtz during a visit to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Professor Harvey Langholtz has researched and published in the field of the "psychology of peacekeeping." 

In his book The Psychology of Peacekeeping (Praeger, 1998), Langholtz makes the argument that social scientists—especially psychologists—have something to offer to address real-world tragedies.

Langholtz was granted leave without pay during academic year 2007-08 to allow him the opportunity to develop training materials for United Nations Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Relief Workers.

As part of that effort, he has visited the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). While at MONUC he met with mission staff and gave lectures for military personnel, civilians, and police.

Langholtz at a checkpoint Professor Langholtz teaching police in Kinshasa.

Lanholtz points out that while the U.S. press and U.S. public are understandably focused on events in Iraq and the Middle East, the ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has received little notice. It has been estimated that since 1998, 3.3 million people, mostly women, children, and the elderly, have died in the D.R. Congo from indirect effects of the violence—displacement, disease, and starvation.

The UN Peacekeeping Force in the D.R. Congo numbers 20,000 personnel, roughly half the size of a U.S. big-city police force, in an area the size of the United States east of the Mississippi.