Sudan is recovering from a decades-long civil war between the regime in Khartoum and Sudanese in the marginalized areas (led by the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement). While the Khartoum regime has perpetrated genocide on its citizens in Darfur, it also has failed to implement important elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement it signed with the SPLM in January, 2005. The agreement calls for elections in 2010 and 2011 that may change the fate of the entire nation.
One of the unintended consequences of the civil wars has been the creation of a Diaspora community made up of tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees who have been resettled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia. Having been exposed to the benefits of extended education, western democracy and a free media, many Sudanese in the Diaspora want to bring those benefits home to their struggling countrymen.
“The United States has dedicated a significant amount of financial and humanitarian to Southern Sudan, and my colleagues and I believe that unless we develop men and women who embrace the idea that a leader is one who serves his or her community and strengthens democracy, then we will not realize the outcomes for which the aid was intended,” says the LIONS founder Mangar Gordon Amerdid who is now working in Juba. “Developing leaders is an investment that will have a long term structural effect on how or if Sudan develops into a modern nation state.”
Humanity United (HU) is a foundation focusing on peace building projects and on strengthening indigenous efforts to address recovery from the trauma and deprivation caused by war. HU issued a small grant to LIONS to help launch the first course conducted in December 2009 in partnership with the University of Denver’s prestigious Josef Korbel School of International Studies as well as the upcoming workshop.
The first course assembled participants from the Sudan and the Diaspora. We fervently hope this experience forged ties that will last for years. These relationships form the foundation of the LIONS network. Our aim and commitment is that the second class held in Juba in mid-November 2010 will build on that work and contribute to the formation of leaders committed to serving their communities with long term economic development projects and working at all levels of society in Sudan.
To become involved or lend your support send an email to [email protected] and visit the web site at www.sudanlions.com
The Leadership Institute of the New Sudan (LIONS) is a 501 c (3) organization with offices in Denver, Colorado and Juba, South Sudan. Its core purpose is to develop and train leaders so that the people of Sudan can experience the virtues of prosperity, civil rights, and social equality. The program focuses on: Leadership, Democracy and Economic Development. Sudanese individuals who are ready to work and serve in communities throughout Sudan and who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the greater good will be prepared to lead in local communities, small business, NGOs, as well as government and institutions. LIONS is supported by individual donations, foundation grants and corporate sponsors. Contributions are tax-deductible.