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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sudanese ambassador speaks about future of his nation

Published: December 3, 2010
Section: News

PHOTO BY Paula Hoekstra/The Hoot

The Honorable Akec Khoc, Sudanese ambassador to the United States came to the university in order to lead a discussion about possible futures for the North and South regions of Sudan on Wednesday in the Mandell Auditorium,

Khoc was brought to Brandeis in a joint effort by the Ethics Center and the Justice Peace Conflict Working Group and cosponsored by the M.A. Program in Coexistence and Conflict, IGS, the Graduate Program in Global Studies, the M.A. Program in Cultural Production, the M.A. Program in Sustainable International Development, and the Heller School.

Khoc began his presentation with an outline of the nation’s sordid history, detailing the events preceding predictions for the future of the conflict and the nation.

Khoc is a well-known people’s advocate within Sudan who in past interviews has been quoted in a former interview, saying that “economic causes are that the Darfur people feel there are marginalized. Unfortunately this is an area which is very far from the capital and does not have resources of its own and when there are no roads to that part of the country investment tends to be difficult. The potential to employ is therefore low and this coupled with climate change makes things tough. Drought has been one of the major causes of the conflict in that the people of Darfur who are either agriculturalists or pastoralists compete fiercely for the scarce resources and this fuel tensions.”

He went on to explain that “politically, the people of Darfur feel they are not sufficiently represented in government but that is a question under debate because many people also in Sudan feel that they are more represented than other regions in the East, South, and North.

Another sticking point for the conflict is land as some people in Darfur feel they have been displaced whereas the government thinks they of insecurity which is created by opposition forces.

These are some of the major causes of the conflicts in Darfur but we hope that with political determination, a solution will soon be found so that everyone enjoys stability and development in the Sudan.”

The timing of Khoc’s visit was particularly relevant with Sudan “at a crossroads” with an important date looming in the near future.

On Jan. 9, a referendum will be instated to determine whether or not Southern Sudan will continue to be a part of Sudan as a whole.

Khoc expressed concern about future interactions between different parts of the divided nation, wondering “how will the south and the north interact with each other as peoples and as countries?”

No matter the outcome of the referendum, Khoc stressed the importance of his visit to Brandeis, claiming that he “could not leave the country without coming to Boston” and visiting this university in particular.

Without student help bringing him here he would not “be able to make any statement” and “would not be able to impact any change.”