Director of Programs, Refugees International
Country Director, DRC, Life & Peace Institute
Thank you to Pieter Vanholder and Life & Peace Institute for kindly organizing this Great Lakes Policy Forum.
Andrea Lari joined Refugees International in 2004, and currently manages the organization’s program research, policy, and advocacy work. He has conducted field missions to countries in the Great Lakes of Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa, the Middle East, and Colombia and the Andean Region. The focus of the missions has been the protection and humanitarian response to displaced people, as well as looking at durable solutions for those groups through the processes of return and reintegration, resettlement and relocation, and local integration. Before joining RI, Mr. Lari was a researcher for Human Rights Watch where he focused on Angola and forced displacement. He began his humanitarian work as a volunteer with Jesuit Refugee Service in Angola. He then served as the organization’s country director in Angola from 1998 to 2000, and went on to conduct humanitarian needs assessments in Pakistan and Afghanistan in early 2002. Mr. Lari grew up in Italy, where he became involved in projects assisting refugees in Croatia and Albania early in his career. He has a Master's degree in Political Science from the University of Bologna, where he wrote a field-based final thesis entitled, "Human Rights Protection of Guatemalan Refugees in Southern Mexico." He also completed the International Summer School at the Refugee Studies Program in Oxford. Mr. Lari's native language is Italian, and he is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Pieter Vanholder holds a Master’s degree in Law, as well as a Special Master in "Law and Development Cooperation", obtained at Ghent University (Belgium) in 2003. After his studies, Pieter continued to work for the University as Project Coordinator for an EU-funded Partnership Program between the law faculties of Ghent University and Mekelle University (Ethiopia). In 2005, Pieter opened the Country Office for Oxfam Solidarity in DR Congo. For three years, he led that office as Country Director, developing programs with a special focus on food security and rural development. In 2008, Pieter became Country Director for the Life & Peace Institute (LPI) in DR Congo, a position he currently holds. LPI strives to transform conflicts at local, national and subregional level. It does so through civil society support, lobbying and awareness raising, as well as through the enrichment of conflict transformation theory.