In December, the Education and Training Center International Division sponsored four programs in Sudan, in Khartoum, the Nuba Mountains and Darfur. The first of these was a seminar on Civic Education held on December 2-3 at the College of Sharq el Neil, Khartoum. Senior Program Officer, Linda Bishai, worked with Sudanese local partner, The Institute for the Development of Civil Society, to plan and implement this seminar which brought together teachers, education administrators, civil society activists and media experts to discuss the current status of civic education in Sudan.

In December, the Education and Training Center International Division sponsored four programs in Sudan, in Khartoum, the Nuba Mountains and Darfur. The first of these was a seminar on Civic Education held on December 2-3 at the College of Sharq el Neil, Khartoum. Senior Program Officer, Linda Bishai, worked with Sudanese local partner, The Institute for the Development of Civil Society, to plan and implement this seminar which brought together teachers, education administrators, civil society activists and media experts to discuss the current status of civic education in Sudan. A group of select students from the Children's Parliament (primary school students who participate in a government parliament program) visited the seminar and gave their own opinions about the content of the current curriculum. A highlight of the seminar was the performance of a voter education play, consisting of a series of vignettes, written and performed by local celebrity dramatist, Mohammed Sharif and his troop of actors. The play, commissioned by ETC-I, describes key issues facing voters in Sudan such as women's rights, respect for diversity and the misuse of incumbent power. The performances elicited a tremendous response and attracted a standing room only crowd from the college campus. By the end of the seminar, participants had articulated two key findings: that good civic education is missing from the current Sudanese curriculum and that it is critically important to a peaceful and diverse society.

Senior Program Officer, Jacqueline Wilson, joined Bishai for the second program held on December 7-9, in Khartoum, a youth workshop on conflict resolution and citizenship. Participants were university students and recent graduates from many parts of Sudan who are currently residing in Khartoum. The workshop focused on relating skills such as negotiation, conflict styles, understanding diversity and communication with the understanding of how these skills contribute to a smoothly functioning democratic society such as Sudan is scheduled to transition towards under the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The students were lively and attentive participants, and ETC-I hopes to work with several of them again in a training-of-trainers capacity.

During their Sudan trip, Bishai and Wilson took the opportunity to screen the USIP sponsored film, Confronting the Truth to audiences in Khartoum, the Nuba Mountains and Darfur. The film compares four different truth commission processes, illuminating their unique procedures and results. In discussions following the film, Sudanese audiences debated whether such a process would be helpful, timely or possible in their own context.

After their Khartoum programs, Bishai and Wilson drove to Dillinj in the Nuba Mountains to provide a workshop on December 11-13 for local Sheikhs and Omdas (similar to mayors). In keeping with the specific challenges faced in the region, the workshop focused on problem solving and respect for diversity. Participants also engaged actively on a democratic concepts exercise where they were asked to complete a "roadmap to democracy" with obstacles, wrong turns and destinations in a Sudanese context.

After overcoming several challenges regarding travel permission and local partners, the fourth and final program was held on December 15-16 in Nyala, Darfur. Participants were drawn from the paralegal center at the Kalma IDP Camp and several members of local the human rights bar. Participants in the Nyala workshop responded very well to the democracy map exercise as well as to one on stereotyping. They also participated in a role play featuring a village conflict over choosing the next chief. The choice was between an older traditional leader and a younger western-educated candidate. Notably, the participants resolved the conflict by creating a two-track chieftaincy, with the younger candidate being the executive and the older candidate serving in an advisory capacity.

Workshop Participants

Related Publications

Chad, and Darfur, After Bashir

Chad, and Darfur, After Bashir

Thursday, May 2, 2019

By: Jérôme Tubiana; Aly Verjee

The politics of the Central African nation of Chad are closely connected with those of Sudan, most prominently because of Darfur, the vast and troubled Sudanese region which borders Chad to the east. The recent fall of Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir—in power since 1989—raises questions about the future of Chad’s president and U.S. ally, Idriss Déby, beset by similar governance challenges and in power since 1990. Jérôme Tubiana, co-author of a 2017 USIP report on Chad, and USIP’s Aly Verjee discuss the implications of political change in Sudan for Chad.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Democracy & Governance

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