Last night, actress Robin Wright, best known for her roles in The Princess Bride and Forrest Gump, paid a visit to Georgetown. But she didn’t come to entertain, sign autographs, or weaken the knees of the student body—she was here to inform students about her work with RAISE Hope for Congo and the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.
Wright did not come alone—two of her colleagues in RAISE Hope, Fidel Bafilemba and John Prendergast, came to share their experiences with the Congo as well. Prendergast is the co-founder of The Enough Project, which aims at ending violence in the Congo, and for which Bafilemba is a field researcher.
RAISE Hope for Congo, a campaign of the Enough Project, also advocates human rights in the war-torn nation. One of its key goals is to end the mining and trade of “conflict minerals” in Congo, which are minerals that are used in the production of many electronics that American college students we use daily, like cell phones and laptops. The purchase of these conflict minerals, according to last night’s speakers, funds armed groups that force men, women, and children alike to mine them, and commit atrocities like mass rape and murder as means of control and intimidation against the Congolese. The Conflict Free Campus Initiative aims at informing college students not to buy electronics that support such groups.
Despite the violence in Congo, Wright visited the country a month ago. At last night’s talk, she discussed her visit to an Internally Displaced Persons camp, where victims of the conflict asked her to bring their call for help to the world. In an emotional appeal for support, Wright stressed the need for young people to become the voice for the oppressed Congolese.
“You are the next generation, as you know, and I think you can save them,” Wright said.