• News
Congolese Presidential Candidate Jean-Claude Baende Shares Vision
Baende with his children; speaking to the assembly

At top, Jean-Claude Baende with his children, Upper School science teacher Jordy Baende ’14 and senior Sara Baende ’23; at bottom, addressing the Upper School assembly

On Monday, March 20, Upper School Ravens had the opportunity to share in the vision and optimism of Jean-Claude Baende, who is running for president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Baende — who is the father of Upper School science teacher Jordy Baende ’14 and senior Sara Baende ’23 — was in the United States to meet with a coalition of supporters in his bid to bring opportunity to his fellow Congolese through building modern schools, hospitals and infrastructure and generating economic growth in his country. 

He was introduced by Sara Baende, who spoke with pride of how her father had pushed through the limitations of his youth in a rural community to achieve his goal of higher education, returning to work to improve the lives of everyone in the nation:

Imagine being born into a small village, where most people will never leave, learn new ways of life or be given a chance at anything. Imagine distinguishing yourself through your hard work and earning a chance at a different life. Imagine going down a path of priesthood, as it was the only way to keep furthering your studies and distinguishing yourself as one of the brightest young minds of your province. Imagine being noticed by the president of your country and being sent out to Europe to “learn and bring back to the nation,” as was custom under Marechal Mobutu. Imagine going back to your country and seeing even more poverty and misery than when you first left. Imagine defying the odds and wanting to find solutions by founding your own political party as you enter a complex and dangerous political world. 

With Jordy Baende serving as interpreter, Jean-Claude Baende explored the issues of poverty, war, corruption and lack of equity in economic opportunity that his campaign intends to address. As he spoke, he shared photos of schools, hospitals and apartment buildings built during his time in provincial and national leadership roles — including as vice-governor and governor of the province of Equateur, where he was raised, and as provincial and national deputy for the city of Mbandaka. 

In the days that followed, Baende, accompanied by his son, was planning to meet with representatives and supporters to share these same experiences and goals. 

In speaking to students at Ravenscroft, he said, he wanted to “make sure that the kids know that we can all make a difference for the better, no matter how limited our resources are, as long as we keep the will to defy the status quo.”

Learn more about Jean-Claude Baende and his vision for “a united and prosperous Congo” on his website.

Photos showing building projects from Baende's work in Congo: apartments, school, roads and hospital

Photos from Baende’s presentation included (clockwise from top left) apartments, schools and hospitals built under his leadership in Equateur.