Lou Schoen, Province VI Anti-Racism Network Coordinator reports that Anti-racism trainers for the Episcopal Church, Lelanda Lee (also a member of the Executive Council, representing Province VI of The Episcopal Church) and JoKatherine Holliman Page undertook a special training challenge recently in Denver for a group working for democracy in Southern Sudan. Following is Lee's report:
JoKatherine Holliman Page and I had the privilege of participating as anti-racism trainers in the context of the LIONS (Leadership Institute of the New Sudan) inaugural leadership institute in the winter of 2009. It was a rich experience for all involved, and JoKatherine and I had to stretch ourselves to be able to talk about racism and specific leadership attitudes and practices in the context of an African nation that has color, ethnic and religious issues of discrimination and oppression at the life and death level. It is exciting to think that our grounding in the Anti-Racism program of The Episcopal Church is helping an African nation's leadership rebuild their war-torn country.
More on the Sudan LIONS here and below:
SPLM Launches Election Campaign with Important Message
DENVER COLORADO - March 4, 2010
We are encouraged and energized by the message delivered In Juba, Sudan, by H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the SPLM presidential nominee for the Government of Southern Sudan. On February 24, 2010, at the mausoleum of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, President Salva Kiir, acknowledged the contributions of the late leader and noted that all Sudanese should "continue to take pride and carry on his legacy."
In his remarks, President Kiir drew special attention to the important contributions of various groups including farmers and rural populations, war heroes and heroines, widows and orphans, traditional leaders, women, faith-based leaders, gallant youth, and SPLA officers. When acknowledging the youth, Kiir called them "young lions" and said, "The struggle could not have been achieved without the resilience, courage, ultimate sacrifice and bravery of our youth; I call them the young lions, who consistently energize our struggle."
Kiir noted that the Sudanese have suffered tremendously; he personally called for forgiveness, healing, and reaching out to one another. He said, "I want us to work on this healing and reconciliation together," indicating that this was an appeal backed by the entire SPLM. After naming this national problem of pain and trauma, he touched on other important nation-building issues such as the binding obligation for the development of rural infrastructure including those of primary health care, basic education, and vocational training. To implement such development, he specified that a percentage of oil revenue will be directed toward these essential frontrunner developments which, in a way, initiate stability and gradual growth. Furthermore, Kiir affirmed that, "No nation can be built on corruption, nepotism and tribalism," and stated that the rule of law would maintain the integrity of the people and public assets.
LIONS Executive Director Mangar Gordon Marial Amerdid is currently on a short-term assignment with the Presidential Campaign Management Team. His participation is a positive sign that the service of Sudanese Diaspora is welcomed.
One of the unintended consequences of the Sudanese civil wars has been the creation of a Diaspora community of tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees. They 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 free media, many Sudanese in the Diaspora want to bring home those benefits.
Thus, the Leadership Institute of the New Sudan has been timely formed to create such learning opportunities for Sudanese men and women of the Sudan and Diaspora. In an earlier statement, Amerdid said, "Our aim and commitment is that the first class (held at the University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA, Nov. 28 -Dec. 18, 2009) will help contribute to successful elections...and long-term economic development projects as well as these leaders go to work in schools, clinics, and agricultural enterprises throughout Sudan."
The Leadership Institute of the New Sudan (LIONS) is a 501(c)3 organization with offices in Denver, Colorado, and Juba, 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 willing to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. They are equipped with skills and prepared to lead in local communities, small businesses, and NGOs, as well as government and institutions. LIONS is supported by individual donations, foundation grants and corporate sponsors.