”She realized that among other things corruption fuelled and prolonged the war in Uganda
Betty Bigombe is one of the founders of Arcadia Foundation. During her effort to end the war in northern Uganda, she realized that among other things corruption fuelled and prolonged the war. She has tirelessly played the role of peace advocate and advisor to warring factions in Uganda, and been a voice to the international community for the people of northern Uganda in a conflict that has lasted over 20 years; caused death to thousands of people, seen over 80,000 children abducted and turned into child soldiers and displaced about 1.7 million people. The Geuzen Medal for 2010 was awarded to Arcadia Foundation founder and Ugandan peace seeker Betty, world renowned as one of the main negotiators in the conflict between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the north of the country. The award ceremony took place in Vlaardingen in the Netherlands on 13 March 2010.
Ms. Bigombe’s latest peace effort was launched in 2004 when she arranged the first ever face-to-face meeting between government representatives and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). She helped create a multi-prong effort that included traditional leaders, women, youth, and the international community in a dramatic push to end the 20 year old war. This initiative resulted in the ongoing peace talks between the government of Uganda and the LRA being held in Juba, south Sudan.
In 2006 Bigombe returned to the United States as a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and later as a Distinguished African Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Institute. While conducting research on her forthcoming book, Bigombe continues to work on the issues of mediation, peace-building, transitional justice and the empowerment of youth, and continues to play an advisory role to those involved in the Juba Peace Talks. In addition she works with international donors and local NGOs to equip the people of northern Uganda with tools for achieving a sustainable peace.
As a peace activist Bigombe was named “Uganda’s Woman of the Year” in 1994 for her efforts to end the violence.
She later went to work at the World Bank as a Senior Social Scientist with the Bank’s newly created Post-Conflict Unit and then worked in the Bank’s Social Protection and Human Development Unit. In 1999-2000, Bigombe provided technical support to the Carter Center in a successful mediation effort between the governments of Uganda and Sudan.
Ms. Bigombe holds a BA from Makerere University, Kampala and a received a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
She is a recipient of many awards in recognition her efforts to end the war in northern Uganda. Recent awards include the United Nations Association International Day of Peace Award; the Tanenbaum International Center, Inter-religious Understanding award. She has appeared in the film “Uganda Rising” and the recent PBS documentary entitled “Lord’s Children,” and serves on the Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Advisory Council of the World Economic Forum.
She continues to lobby on the issues of child soldiers and Ugandan’s post-conflict struggle to rebuild and she is often invited to share her experiences and analysis on mediation, conflict resolution, and development policy with a wide range of government officials, academics, conflict resolution practitioners, and policy leaders.