Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Conflict in the Congo: The Human Story Behind the Fight for Natural Resources"

Sarah Fretwell
Founder, The Truth Told Project

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

Note: the speaker's works will be displayed in the courtyard before and after the colloquium.

"Sarah Fretwell's perspective is one in a billion, for few people actively choose to venture into a country where a sexual assault occurs every 60 seconds while a war is fought over the distribution of an estimated 24 trillion dollars in natural resources - like coltan, gold, and copper. This talk is distinctive in the community colloquium series, utilizing media and personal storytelling to depict the human aftershock of this environmental conflict -- a perspective you will find refreshing, frustrating, informative, and motivating."

—Hosted by Alana Yurkanin, MESM 2014

The Truth Told Project was born in December of 2010 when award-winning photographer Sarah Fretwell ventured into the war-torn, mineral-rich region of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Her time there was spent in rural villages and bush hit hard by the ongoing battle for access to minerals and land. For fifty days, she gathered the untold stories of the people bearing the brunt of the conflict. The Truth Told Project amplifies the voices of women, girls, and men of the DRC who have been silenced by the war, their government, and corruption. The goal of the project is to reach consumers of technology through art and help them understand their personal link to this conflict and their role in helping end it. The talk will illuminate the daily realities of life in the DRC and discuss the key players in the conflict and the rampant sexual violence that occurs there. It will address the immense prospect the land and people, with the support of the international community, could have for the future.

Sarah Fretwell is a Southern California-based photojournalist who has traveled to over 57 countries. Her passion is helping others share their story, focusing on women and children in current and post-conflict countries. Her journey to the Congo in 2010 created her latest project, The Truth Told Project, which is gaining national attention. This past year, Sarah Fretwell was invited to share the project as a solo presenter at the prominent technology event South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive. She has also served as a keynote speaker for Human Rights Week, Jeans for Justice, Tom's Shoes, and will be presenting at TedX Skid Row this June. Her articles and photographs have been featured in numerous magazines, including the acclaimed American Photo Magazine, American Photo On Campus, Photo District News, and numerous activist blogs. In 2012 the multi-media portion of the project exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, The Walk to End Genocide in Los Angeles, and at Human Rights Watch -- Art With Heart in Santa Monica. The exhibit is scheduled to present in Washington, D.C. this spring in conjunction with the STAND and Enough Project.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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