Student’s Project Raises Awareness About Congo

The entire Rider community is invited to attend the Congo Day: Giving Back to Africa Fundraiser on Thursday April 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. in BLC Theater.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The entire Rider community is invited to attend the Congo Day: Giving Back to Africa Fundraiser on Thursday April 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. in BLC Theater. Graduate student Arthur-Kalala Katalayi is holding the event in an effort to raise awareness of the Democratic Republic of Congo and help foster educational development of Congolese leaders of tomorrow.

The event will feature clips from a documentary about the Congo, a presentation about its history and culture, a question-and-answer session and Congolese food.

Katalayi, a student in the Master of Organizational Leadership program with an Information Technology concentration, is presenting the event as part of his project for LEAD 598: Project Seminar in Organizational Leadership. He has worked with Giving Back to Africa, a nonprofit organization that helps bring educational development to children in the Congo, since 2008.

In February, Katalayi gave a presentation about the Democratic Republic of Congo to two Baccalaureate Honors freshmen classes that had recently read The Poisonwood Bible. The book, by Barbara Kingsolver, tells the story of a white missionary and his family from the United States who go to the Congo to try to convert the indigenous people to Christianity. During the presentation, Katalayi talked about the social, historical, geographical, and economic background of the Congo, its military struggles and its wealth of natural resources.

Katalayi, who was born in Lyon, France and raised in Paris, spent three years in the United Kingdom to finish high school. He is fascinated by Congolese history because his ancestors were from Mbuji-Mayi, capital of the Kasai-Oriental Province in Congo. He came to the United States in 2001, and in 2005, he graduated from Salem International University in West Virginia, where he was on a soccer scholarship. Katalayi moved to New Jersey in 2005 and enrolled full time at Rider in 2007.