Former Sudanese child soldier to speak at Rotary peace symposium
Emmanuel Jal, former Sudanese child soldier turned advocate for international peace, will speak at the Rotary World Peace Symposium in May. Photo courtesy of Greater Talent Network
Emmanuel Jal has an extraordinary story to tell. A former child soldier in Sudan, Jal is now a hip-hop artist, author, and actor, as well as a spokesperson for Amnesty International and Oxfam. He also has worked on behalf of Save the Children, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and Christian Aid.
“I believe I have survived for a reason: to tell my story and touch lives,” Jal says. “If I testify, I might prevent another kid from losing his childhood.”
Jal will share his experiences as a featured speaker at the Rotary World Peace Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand. The symposium, together with the Rotary Alumni Celebration, will be held 3-5 May, immediately preceding the 2012 RI Convention. The symposium will offer current and former Rotary Peace Fellows, other Rotary Foundation alumni, and Rotarians an opportunity to hear about the latest developments in peace and conflict resolution and to learn practical skills from experts in the field.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution. The seven centers, located at universities around the world, offer future world and community leaders the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree or professional development certificate in international studies, conflict resolution, or a related area. Of the more than 600 peace fellow alumni, about 62 percent now work for governments, nongovernmental organizations, or multilateral organizations like the United Nations and World Bank.
Among the alumni is Josephus Tenga, who shares Jal’s great hope for lasting peace in the world. In 1999, Tenga and his family fled for their lives during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Later, at the urging of a Canadian Rotarian who heard him speak about the experience, Tenga applied to become a Rotary Peace Fellow. He studied at the peace center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in North Carolina, USA, in 2004-06.
Tenga has served as technical adviser to Sudan’s Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission, which helped pave the way for the establishment, last July, of the Republic of South Sudan.
“Violence . . . is an industry,” he says. “People are making money off it, and we cannot ignore it.”
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