• January 24, 2014
  • From the Team
  • 3

A note of thanks from our outgoing director

After seven years directing this organization, next week I will be handing over the reins to my longtime collaborator and friend Paul Ronan. I will continue to be involved with efforts to help communities end LRA violence and build the peaceful future they deserve, but I will be doing so in a new capacity (more on that below).

There has been no shortage of lessons learned in the nine years that have passed since a friend researching conditions in northern Uganda first called to propose that we try to develop a “constituency for peace” in the region. However, our core beliefs — that international leaders need to be more accountable in the face of violence against vulnerable people and that we all have a role in making that happen — have only been reinforced over time.

As I mark this personal transition, I am so grateful to the many whose partnership and support made my job both possible and meaningful. Thank you to the activists, funders, organizations, and government officials who shared in our aspiration for peace and determination to pursue ambitious goals. Thank you to the religious and community leaders in LRA-affected areas, like Fr. Benoit Kinalegu and Sr. Giovanna Calabria, whose courage and guidance inspired me every day. And thank you to each of my teammates over the years. It has been an incredible privilege to labor alongside people I love and respect. Your persistence — in undertaking risky research missions, going months without pay, enduring 11 days on the wintry sidewalks of Oklahoma to get a Senator to finally budge — and ability to have fun along the way made it all but impossible not to keep going.

It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role. But after careful thought, I have concluded I can be more effective in a new, independent position consulting for a range of partners in our collective mission. As Paul and other partners continue to push forward efforts to end LRA violence, I’m particularly excited to pursue a project investigating how we (as activists, donors, and governments) can help communities affected by the conflict get back on their feet, an objective that deserves as much energy and investment as anything we’ve worked on so far. I will also be reflecting on lessons we’ve learned and fostering conversations with friends and partners about how we can get better at walking alongside communities affected by conflict.

In the meantime, The Resolve’s core mission remains critical, and I have no doubt that under Paul’s leadership, many of the organization’s most effective days are still ahead. Paul will continue to oversee the kind of top-notch research and analysis that advances meaningful discussions and policy solutions. And I’m excited to contribute to it in new ways as I hand off the baton.

After 28 years of LRA atrocities, many challenges still remain ahead. But we are closer than ever to the day when we will be able to turn our full focus toward rebuilding what has been lost. That day may even be quite soon. Nearly a decade of activism has provided a political mandate and driven a scale of US and international leadership and investment we barely thought possible when we began in 2005. And hopefully, as complex as these kinds of problems can be, we’ve shown a taste of what is possible when people unite in pursuit of goals that make our world a little more just and humane.

About the Author

Michael Poffenberger
Michael Poffenberger

Michael Poffenberger is Executive Director of The Resolve.