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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Sudan and South Sudan Course 2016

The 2016 RVI Sudan and South Sudan Field Course will take stock of the world that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement made in the tenth year after it was signed. The democratic transformation promised by the CPA has not taken root in either country. In Sudan the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has further entrenched its position against a divided opposition while intensifying its military offensives in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In South Sudan the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has increasingly come to resemble the oppressive Khartoum regimes against which it rebelled, with its military responses to political dissent and regional discontent. The hesitant formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in Juba has yet to create public confidence that the country will return to peace after two years of massive and violent conflict. Unresolved issues between Sudan and South Sudan including the border, the future of Abyei, and sharing the shrinking proceeds of a troubled oil industry, remain without settlement.

To make sense of current dynamics, this year’s Sudan and South Sudan Course, held from 25 June to 1 July in Uganda, examines key themes of society, economy and politics in both countries at present as well as in their near and distant past.

Regional experts and academics, including Jok Madut Jok (Loyola Marymount University) and Leben Moro (Juba University) will examine the various factors leading to conflict in South Sudan and the prospects of reconciliation. They will be joined by the veteran journalist, Atem Yaak Atem who will describe the challenges local media now face. Magdi el-Gizouli (Freiburg University) and Nada Mustafa Ali (University of Massachusetts) will lead us through the intricate web of Sudanese politics and offer a realistic assessment of the prospects for political and constitutional reform. Cherry Leonardi (Durham University) will provide a comparative view of the workings of the state at various levels in both countries.

Human rights have suffered especially as a result of on going conflict in both countries. Joanna Oyediran (Open Society Institute for East Africa) will discuss the role that humanitarianism can still play and examine the reported rise of gender-based violence. Aly Verjee (Chief of Staff, Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission South Sudan) will give an update on the implementation of South Sudan’s peace agreement. The economies of both countries have suffered as a result of war, closed borders and declining international oil prices: Dan Large (Central European University) will lead discussions focused on key economic issues.

Our interactive sessions will include panel discussions on youth and gender activism, changing livelihoods, diaspora politics, and legacies of what the CPA addressed and failed to address, especially in the outstanding grievances in Darfur and the Two Areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The week promises lively, engaging debate and analysis, alongside refreshing perspectives on historic realities. We hope you will join us for what is, for all of us, a unique and highly insightful week.

Highlights of the syllabus

DAY 1  Peoples, cultures, identities, and beliefs in the two Sudans.
DAY 2  Ecology, human geography and livelihoods.
DAY 3  The State: The history of state formation, governance and political control.
DAY 4  Conflict: The causes of continuing conflict and attempts at peacebuilding. 
DAY 5  Post-CPA: Political economy, the media, gender, youth, political and civil activism.
DAY 6  International interventions: Regional and international relations, lessons from past development, humanitarian, and diplomatic initiatives.


Core teaching staff

Douglas Johnson PhD  Co-Director of Studies
Independent historian, author of The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars

Guma Kunda Guma PhD  Co-Director of Studies
Associate Professor of Human Geography, University of Bahri, Khartoum

Nada Mustafa Ali PhD
Lecturer in Women and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts

Magdi el-Gizouli MD
Freiburg University;

Cherry Leonardi PhD
Senior Lecturer in History, Durham University

Jok Madut Jok PhD
Secretary General, South Sudan National Research Council

Daniel Large PhD
Assistant Professor, Central European University, Budapest

Atem Yaak Atem
Independent journalist

Laura Mann PhD
Assistant Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science

Leben Moro PhD
Director of External Relations, University of Juba

Benedetta de Alessi PhD
Independent Researcher and Consultant 

Aly Verjee
Advisor to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, South Sudan

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