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iun academic affairs

Convocation Program - 10/19/07

Event Title: The Voices of Darfur
Fall Event Speakers: Awadiya M. Ahmed Yahia and Suad Mansour
Date / Time: October 19, 2007 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Savannah Auditorium

“The Voices of Darfur” will focus on educating the IU campus community about the current situation in Darfur and its history and calling for community and individual action to stop the genocide in this region of Africa.

Fall Speaker Bios:

  • Awadiya M. Ahmed Yahia, a native of Darfur, is a PhD candidate in Global Gender Studies at New York State University at Buffalo. Her experience includes acting as the Information Officer and Trainer for the Save the Children’s Fund-UK in South Darfur, a Resettlement Officer and founder of Women’s Affairs in the Western Savannah Development Corporation in South Darfur, a Program Co-coordinator and Projects Officer for the Sudanese Juvenile Care Organization in Khartoum, the Founder and Executive Director of the Sudan’s Society Call Association, a Women’s Specialist for the Community Development Committee in Omdurman, and an Adult and Family Literacy Education professional for Erie 2 BOCES.
  • Suad Mansour, a native of North Darfur, spent 9 years as a pioneering leader in women's development in Sudan before fleeing to this country, where she is now a permanent resident. After graduating from universities in the Sudan and Ireland, Suad joined the staff of several NGOs, including Oxfam, working on rural women's development in Sudan. In 1995, she helped formed a Community Development Committee serving women displaced by the civil war in southern Sudan, as well as by drought and in western Sudan. The CDC became a model for involving displaced women in shaping their own economic and political future through leadership training. Suad Mansour became the president of the organization and helped to build its programs. However, when the CDC received funds from a Canadian source without government permission, she was targeted by Sudanese security forces. She decided to leave the organization -- and then to leave Sudan for her own safety. Her CDC continued to work effectively because the women had been empowered to work by themselves. In February 2005, Suad returned to spend four months in refugee camps in Chad, where she met countless survivors of the bombing and burning of their villages, the loss of family members, and brutal rapes. In her continuing activism here, she is spearheading efforts to create a Darfur Women's Empowerment Network. She brings her passion to the Darfur Alert Coalition, where she heads the Projects Committee and is a founding board member.

Spring Event Speakers:

  • Members of the Darfur Alert Coalition (requested Dr. Ali B,. Ali-Dinar, Lou Ann Merkle, Fatima Haroun, and Dr. Mahdi Ibn Ziyad), including a visual presentation and the Children of Darfur Art Exhibit.