Sudanese expert Roger Winter raises issues of the future of Sudan and the current Comprehensive Peace Treaty

winter_31Denver, Colorado –Despite the snowy chilly evening of December 8,2009,an audience of 70 individuals, including both Sudanese and American activists, students, professors, media, and interested parties, came to learn about and discuss the future of Sudan with notable guest Roger Winter.

The event was a highlight of the Leadership Institute of New Sudan (LIONS) 2009 Leadership Institute being held at the University of Denver.

Winter is currently an advisor to the Government of Southern Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

 A well known leader in international aid and refugee affairs, Winter is recognized for his outspoken support for the people of Southern Sudan, Abyei, Nuba Mountains, and Southern Blue Nile regions.He is a former Representative on Sudan for the U.S. Department of State and was a key negotiator of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war in 2005 that resulted in the deaths of 2.5 million people and the displacement of 4.5 million people.

“We (the Sudanese people) refer to Roger as ‘Uncle Roger.’ Winter is a true friend to the Sudanese people and has done what uncles do by paying this important visit,” LIONS Executive Director Mangar Amerdid said, “I truly appreciate his endorsement of LIONS and his willingness to be part of our Advisory Committee.”

Winter briefly discussed the history of Sudan, the 21-year civil war, and its devastating consequences on the people of Sudan. He explained the CPA that brought the peaceful transition period and its specific provisions including the “holy grail” of the referendum that calls for democratic elections. The elections have been continually pushed back and undermined by the Khartoum government but are currently scheduled for April 2010. Winter, who acknowledged that his views were unbiased, chastised the Khartoum government and their atrocities toward the Sudanese people. He reiterated that most people in Sudan do not support a united Sudan but instead want separation from the Khartoum government.

"United has not been made attractive and with only thirteen months until the referendum, it is too late to make it so," he stated.

He commented that U.S. foreign policy toward Sudan under the Obama administration has become unfortunately friendlier toward the Khartoum government and has destabilized the situation for the leadership in southern Sudan. The event concluded with a vibrant question and answer session in which audience members, many of whom were Sudanese refugees, asked Winter specific questions regarding his assessment of prospects for the future of their country.

Sponsored by the LIONS, the event was part of the 2009 Leadership Institute. LIONS was established as a vehicle to develop Sudanese leaders to serve in the transition to full democracy in Sudan. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado with an office opening in Juba, Sudan, its core mission is to identify, develop, and train leaders to prepare and assist those who wish to participate in a dedicated role in communities throughout Sudan. In doing so, LIONS’ goal is that the people of New Sudan will experience the virtues of prosperity, civil rights, and social equality.

Co-sponsors of the event included Humanity United and the University of Denver and was made possible in collaboration with Project Education Sudan, the Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness, and Africa Today Associates.

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