Whether it’s because of its extremely literal name, its location next to larger, better-known neighbors, or some other factor, Central African Republic (CAR) garners very little attention in the international arena, even when it teeters on the brink of collapse. That’s been the case since 2013, as internecine warfare spread throughout the country, killing thousands, displacing more than a quarter of the population, and driving already frightful health indicators down even further. With a recent tenuous détente, the violence has subsided somewhat, but the country remains on edge, its future as uncertain as its past has been difficult.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working in Central African Republic since 1997. Over the years, MSF has become the country’s de-facto primary health care provider, and when the violence broke out, the organization expanded its programs in CAR even further in response to the massive needs. MSF’s programs in CAR are now among its largest in terms of staffing, expenses, and patients treated.
From April 7 through April 30, MSF will present “Central African Republic: Uncertain Tomorrow” in Brooklyn, New York, an exhibition featuring the work of prize-winning photographer William Daniels, who has made 10 trips to CAR over the past three years to document a conflict few outsiders even knew was underway.
In conjunction, MSF will host a webcast on April 6 featuring Daniels, award-winning novelist Dinaw Mengestu, who visited MSF programs in CAR last year, and experienced MSF field worker, Katie Rose, recently back from an assignment in the country. The panel will discuss the realities of life on the ground in CAR right now, as well as the difficulty involved in bringing some attention to this often overlooked land.
Viewer participation is encouraged via a chat feature available during the webcast.
William Daniels is a prize-winning photographer who has made 10 trips to the Central African Republic since 2013, to show the appalling violence and chaos it has both endured and fostered. Daniels’ photography has appeared in numerous outlets, including Time, National Geographic, and Le Monde. His work has won numerous international awards, including two World Press Awards, the Visa D’or Humanitarian Award at Perpignan photo festival, the Tim Hetherington Grant, and the Getty Grant.
Dinaw Mengestu is the award-winning author of three novels, All Our Names (2014), The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007) and How to Read the Air (2010). He is a graduate of Georgetown University and of Columbia University’s M.F.A. program in fiction and the recipient of a 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation and a 20 Under 40 award from The New Yorker. His journalism and fiction have appeared in such publications as Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. He is a recipient of a 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant and currently lives in New York City.
Katie Rose, RN, MS, just returned from an MSF assignment in Berberati, CAR. She previously worked for MSF in Berberati in 2013. She has also worked for MSF in South Sudan, Cameroon, Guinea, and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Moderated by Phil Zabriskie, editorial director for MSF-USA.
This webcast will be recorded for viewing at a later time. Please register for the webcast to receive a link to the recording.
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During the month of April, a photo exhibit featuring William Daniels' work will be on display in Brooklyn. Click here for more info.