April 13, 2009

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By Kyle Winslow '09

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Abraham Awolich, a "Lost Boy of Sudan" who was displaced by violence in Darfur, will speak at Bucknell University on Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by STAND, a student anti-genocide coalition at Bucknell.

Abraham Awolich"My life story begins with me leaving my family in 1988 after government-sponsored militias attacked our village of Kalthok," Awolich said of his early life.

"I went to Ethiopia, then fled another war there and returned to Sudan. In 1992, our camps were attacked so we left on foot running. We settled in a small town east of Kapoeta, southern Sudan.

"When Kapoeta was overrun by the army, we were forced to flee at night. We lived as refugees in Kakuma camp for nine years before we resettled in America," he said.

A co-founder and former co-executive director of the New Sudan Education Initiative, which works toward a lasting peace in the region by building secondary schools and promoting education, Awolich is a McNair Fellow pursuing a master's degree in public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

New steps toward promoting peace
New to campus this spring, STAND was created with the goal of helping to stop genocide in Darfur, Sudan, by educating the campus about past violence and urging action to prevent such atrocities in the future.

"As a new group on campus, hosting Mr. Awolich will help STAND bring both students and the outside community together to encourage global perspectives on collaboration and progress," said Bucknell senior Christine Yaged, president of STAND. "Our goal is to increase awareness and encourage discussion among the student population about human rights, mass atrocities and crimes against humanity occurring around the world."

Fighting violence with education
The student organization hopes the lecture will encourage the Bucknell community to learn more about how access to education can significantly improve the quality of life and morale of displaced children of war.

"Education is a critical component of a stable society, and Bucknell can help offer opportunities to students in conflict areas and contribute to the peace process. As students, STAND members believe that every individual is entitled to basic human rights, peace, security and access to education. Darfuri youths deserve the same opportunity to a quality education that we have in Lewisburg, Pa.," said Yaged.

A week of advocacy
The lecture will cap STAND's first Genocide Prevention Week, which runs April 20-24. The student organization hopes to make the week of anti-genocide advocacy and awareness an annual event.

Other events include displays of selected readings on the theme of genocide, a movie screening of "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 21, and the sale of two items: Darfur Sweatshop-Free T-shirts and Blood:Water Bracelets.

Donations from Genocide Prevention Week will go toward the Darfur Dream Team's Sister Schools Program, which links American schools and universities with schools in Darfuri refugee camps to provide children with quality education.

Blood:Water bracelet proceeds will go toward the Blood:Water Mission, a nonprofit organization founded by the rock group Jars of Clay which builds health clinics and wells in Africa.

Kyle Winslow, a senior majoring in English, is an intern in the Office of Communications.

Contact: Division of Communications


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