Teach-in to focus on South Sudan humanitarian crisis

Panel discussion to include U.S. diplomat

UN Photo/Isaac Billy

More than 200 Nepalese peacekeepers arrive in Juba, South Sudan to reinforce the military component of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The outbreak of ethnic strife in South Sudan last December has spurred a humanitarian crisis in a region that already has experienced great suffering. The United Nations estimates that the fighting has resulted in 10,000 deaths, the displacement of nearly 500,000 people and untold human rights violations and abuses.

This quickly developing tragedy has touched the Brandeis community directly. Mangok Bol, an administrator for the international and global studies program, the graduate global studies program, and the Mandel Center for the Humanities, learned in early February that his brother and sister-in-law were murdered and their four children were abducted when gunmen attacked their village. In all, 28 adults were killed and 11 children were taken.

To help focus attention on the needs of South Sudan and the surrounding region, Brandeis is hosting a teach-in on Monday, March 3, 6-7:30 pm, Shapiro Campus Center Atrium.

Ellen Schattschnieder, associate professor of anthropology and women’s and gender studies, with Hanna Young ’15, and Nelly Schlafereit ’15 will moderate a panel discussion on the causes of the recent hostilities in South Sudan, the scope of the humanitarian emergency, and prospects for peace-building and reconciliation within South Sudan.

U.S. diplomat Dawn Schrepel, who helped negotiate the expanded United Nations Mission to South Sudan in December 2013, will participate in the panel by video link.

The panel also will include Chad Williams, chair of the African and Afro-American Studies Department; Akol Aguek, a Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate student; Ayeun Adet, Moses Geng Ajou and David Channoff, PhD’74, of the South Sudanese Enrichment for Families, a non-profit organization serving the South Sudanese community in Massachusetts; and Leigh Swigart, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

There also will be a report on Bol’s efforts to locate and rescue his nephew and nieces along with the other children taken from the village of Kolnyang.

Brandeis has been assisting Bol through extensive outreach to the Massachusetts congressional delegation and other governmental and non-governmental agencies. There also has been a fundraising site created to assist Bol with expenses related his efforts to return the children to their family.

The teach-in is sponsored by the departments of anthropology and African and Afro-American studies, the global studies, international and global studies, and women’s and gender studies programs, and the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs, Student Life

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