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[IGEE] Special Conversation with Dr. Denis Mukwege and MOU Signing Ceremony
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2019.07.10
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The Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) at Yonsei University held the Special Conversation with 2018 Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege on July 3, 2019 at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.


As a world-renowned gynecological surgeon and human rights activist, Dr. Mukwege has led a fearless campaign for gender equality in his home country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where sexual violence is often used as a weapon of war against women. After specializing in the treatment of women raped during the conflict, he founded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu in 1999. Unlike its initial purpose to provide gynecological and obstetrics care, Panzi Hospital has become a safe haven for women who are victims of extreme sexual violence. Over time, however, Dr. Mukwege realized that treating the patients medically was not enough.



"I found that the solution was not in the operating room," Dr. Mukwege said. "I should do more, and to do more for me was to advocate for all of those women who are going through these terrible things."


Panzi Hospital adopted a holistic, four pillar model that it still uses today for the recovery process of these women, including physical, psychological, socio-economical, and legal care. Dr. Mukwege emphasized the importance of all four pillars, but also the role that men can play in resolving this human rights crisis.


According to Dr. Mukwege, "To prevent these kinds of sins is really to try also to teach about masculinity. If we can see women and girls as equal to men, then I think that even if there is war, we can be in the position to say that they are women, but we are equal."



Moreover, he addressed the issue of re-integrating the victims into their communities, where, often times, these women are rejected by their friends and family. "What is needed, really, is to listen to them," Dr. Mukwege said. "Sometimes we have impressions that we know everything, and we know how we can help women. But from my experience, I can say that women are so strong and you need only to listen to them."


Following the dialogue and a Q&A session with audience from all around the world, Dr. Mukwege was joined by Kim Yong-Hak, President of Yonsei University, Ban Ki-moon, Honorary Chairman of IGEE, Sohn Myongsei, Executive Director of IGEE, and Won Jong-wook, Dean of the Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between Panzi Hospital, IGEE, and the Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health. In particular, the three institutions agreed to collaborate on the mutual exchange of scientific material, faculty, students, research findings, and any other activities to help promote inclusive and sustainable development.




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