What We Do
Public Awareness and Advocacy
Voices for Sudan has spearheaded many public events, including meetings with public policymakers, arranging meetings for members of the diaspora and visiting high-level dignitaries from Sudan and South Sudan, holding roundtable discussion forums, and facilitating and organizing vigils, marches and protests — all with the goal of highlighting policies and issues vital to peace and progress in Sudan and South Soudan. The series was inaugurated April 24, 2014 by former U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Ambassador Preston Lyman, and Alan Goutly, former British Ambassador to Sudan and currently a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Through its public advocacy efforts, VFS is able to spotlight issues of concern to the Sudanese diaspora.
Two well-attended summer discussion fora, held at VFS’ Washington, D.C. office, highlighted the current volatile situations in Sudan and South Sudan. That forum marked the 10th anniversary of the death of the late Dr. John Garang De Mabior, SPLM/A Chairman, former Government of Sudan Vice President, and former President of South Sudan, whose vision for Sudanese peace and freedom has been clouded by hostilities in the wake of the creation of South Sudan.
Attending and offering their perspectives on how Dr. Garang’s vision has been compromised, were Neimat Ahmadai, founder and president of Darfur Women Action Group; Dave Paterson, senior advisor, National Endowment for Democracy; Jonathan Dworken, USAID; and Madeline Ross, Mercy Corps.
Dr. David Bassiouni, chairman and chief executive officer of The Bassiouni Group, and a veteran of the United Nations system, including having been the first and only Humanitarian Coordinator directly appointed by the Secretary-General and Security Council.
A lively discussion also took place at the August 27 forum, whose theme was “Crisis in the Sudan”, moderated by Katie Camp, program officer for the National Endowment for Democracy’s Africa team. Jimmy Mulla, VFS President and Co-founder provided opening remarks, Ambassador Susan Page, senior advisor to the Office of U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan; Juliana Baffoe, counsellor to the Norwegian Embassy also offered remarks on the peace process; The role of civil society in Sudan was presented by Abdelbagi Jibril (via Skype from Geneva), director of the Darfur Relief and Documentation Center; and VFS Board member Abdalmageed S. Haroun, a graduate student at Brandeis University. Mahdi Daud Khalifa, a member of the UMMA Party leadership and the Council Sudan Revolutionary Front (SAF), spoke on the Sudan national dialogue.
VFS Diaspora Training Program
Working in partnership with the The Enough Project, Humanity United, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs Pan African Network (SIPA-PAN), the International Justice Project, and Generation Citizen, Voices for Sudan has held a successful series of trainings for members of the Sudanese diaspora. The purpose of these trainings is to create and build the capacity of U.S. and international advocacy networks that integrate more members of the diaspora into public policymaking.
The focus of the trainings is on communications: participants learn how to craft and hone their compelling personal stories and their narratives about the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan, and how to tailor their messages specifically for American and international audiences.
The workshops cover public affairs – how U.S. Congressional offices are structured and how to lobby elected government officials and staff — as well as the basics of media outreach, and the principles and best practices of small-scale fundraising. Each session includes interactive portions and breakout sessions to practice role-playing using various scenarios.
Trainings have been conducted in Washington, DC, at Columbia University in New York City, and in Boston and Phoenix, Arizona, with plans to expand the number of locales. Guest speakers at the trainings have included U.S Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona; Dr. David Bassiouni, a veteran humanitarian and emergency expert who was the first UN Humanitarian Coordinator, and the only person to serve in that position by appointment by the UN Secretary-General and Security Council; and Dr Luka Biong, former government Minister in Sudan and South Sudan, and a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Scholar.