Willet Weeks has four decades of experience in Africa, mostly in conflict and postconflict zones. He is especially knowledgeable about the cultures and the political and social dynamics of the Great Lakes region. Willet lived and worked for extended periods in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), first as a Peace Corps staff member, then as a founder and director of the Peace Corps Regional Training Center in Bukavu. He subsequently led the first U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assessment in the DRC following the fall of the Mobutu regime for the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), and was OTI country representative for three years, developing a network with government and civil society leaders and playing an important role in facilitating the Lusaka agreements.

Willet is currently serving as adviser to the Joint Technical Commission on Peace and Security and to the U.S. delegation to the peace talks. He is thus familiar with the key Congolese civilian and military leaders, the Programme Amani leadership, the key bilateral and multilateral actors in Goma, Eastern DRC policy matters, and the complex issues of donor and stakeholder coordination. Willet was DAI’s chief of party and senior adviser for four years for the implementation of USAID’s Peace in East and Central Africa program. In this capacity, he supported district-level governmental and civil society actors in key cross-border local-conflict clusters, using joint problem-solving initiatives between cross-border partners to build trust and experience in preventing, managing and, where necessary, responding to localized violent conflict. He offers proven expertise in building relationships and providing constructive solutions to ease conflicts. Earlier, Willet was team leader for sensitive conflict vulnerability assessments in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Northern Uganda, Mali, and elsewhere. Willet is bilingual in English and French and speaks basic Kiswahili.

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