Center for American Progress

Movie Screening: Darfur Diaries: Message From Home
Press Advisory

Movie Screening: Darfur Diaries: Message From Home

Policy experts and filmmakers discuus this new film

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In February 2003, the Sudanese Liberation Army in Darfur (the western region of Sudan)  took up arms against the Sudanese government after years of oppression. The government and allied militias answered the rebellion with mass murder, rape, and the wholesale destruction of villages and livelihood, resulting in one of the world’s largest humanitarian and political crises. Up to two million people were displaced; 400,000 people killed.

In October and November 2004, after watching woefully inadequate media coverage on the crisis in Darfur, a team of three independent filmmakers trekked to Darfurian refugee camps in eastern Chad and crept across the border into Darfur. They met dozens of Darfurians, and spoke with them about their history, hopes and fears, and the tragedy they are living. Through the voices of refugees, displaced persons, and women and children in particular, Darfur Diaries: Message From Home provides a space for the marginalized victims of atrocities to speak and to engage with the world.

Please join us for a provocative panel discussion and Q&A session immediately following the film. The filmmakers will also discuss their book on the filmmaking process, Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival (Nation Books, October 2006).

Introductory Remarks:
Gayle Smith, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Featured Panelists:
Aisha Bain, Director, Darfur Diaries
Jen Marlowe, Director, Darfur Diaries
Adam Sterling, Executive Director, Sudan Divestment Task Force
Colin Thomas-Jensen, Africa Advocacy and Research Manager, International Crisis Group

Moderated by:
Anita Sharma, Executive Director of ENOUGH: The project to abolish genocide and mass atrocities

Monday, December 11, 2006
Program: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Admission is free.
Refreshments will be served.

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Gayle Smith is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, she has spent much of her career in international affairs in the field. Smith served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from 1998-2001, and as Senior Advisor to the Administrator and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1994-1998. In 1999, she won the National Security Council’s Samuel Nelson Drew Award for Distinguished Contribution in Pursuit of Global Peace for her role in the successful negotiation of a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Smith was based in Africa for almost 20 years as a journalist covering military, economic, and political affairs for the BBC, Associated Press, Reuters, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Toronto Globe & Mail, London Observer and Financial Times. Smith has also consulted for a wide range of NGOs, foundations and governmental organizations including UNICEF, the World Bank, Dutch Interchurch Aid, Norwegian Church Relief, and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. She won the World Journalism Award from the World Affairs Council and the World Hunger Year Award in 1991.
Smith is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served as a member of the Commission on Capital Flows, the Commission on Weak States and National Security, and the Council on Foreign Relation’s Africa Task Force. She is a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, where she co-authored The Other War: Global Poverty and the Millennium Challenge Account. In 2005, she served as Director of the Global Poverty track of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Aisha Bain is the Asia Program Associate at Global Rights: Partners for Justice, where she works on women’s rights in India and environmental rights in Mongolia. She completed her master’s degree in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program in the School of International Service with a concentration in Human Rights at American University. Before arriving at AU, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar and traveled throughout much of the Horn of Africa. She served as Deputy Director at the Center for the Prevention of Genocide where she worked extensively investigating and reporting the massacres in Darfur and Northern Uganda, as well as lobbying for international action. She has also conducted extensive field research in human trafficking in Southeast Asia in summer 2004.

Jen Marlowe is a founding member of the Rachel’s Words initiative. She is also currently facilitating a youth peace-building project in Mostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina. From 2000-2004, she coordinated and directed a conflict transformation program in Jerusalem, creating and implementing co-existence programs for hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli youth. In addition, she worked in conflict resolution with youth in Afghanistan, and facilitated dialogue groups between youth from India and Pakistan, and Turkish and Greek Cypriot youth. Previously, Jen was the artistic director of Two Roads Theatre Ensemble, a theatre education company in Seattle, WA, and a teaching artist at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Jen holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in psychology.

Colin Thomas-Jensen is Africa Advocacy and Research Manager at the International Crisis Group. Colin is based in Washington DC, where he has a range of responsibilities in the Africa program. Colin joined Crisis Group from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he was an information officer on the humanitarian response team for Darfur. Earlier, Colin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia and Mozambique. He has traveled extensively in East and Southern Africa. Colin has written numerous opinion pieces on African affairs, most recently in the Boston Globe. Colin received his master’s degree in African Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2003, with a concentration in the history of Islam in Africa, African politics, and Islamic family law. He graduated from Pomona College in 1997.

Adam Sterling is the executive director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force, a project of the Genocide Intervention Network. Adam is a recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with degrees in African American Studies and Political Science. Adam has received a number of humanitarian awards and serves as an advisor on divestment issues to numerous state pension funds, state legislators, and federal representatives. His writings have appeared extensively in the press, including contributions to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The LA Times, The SF Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and National Public Radio.

Anita Sharma is the Executive Director of ENOUGH: The project to abolish genocide and mass atrocities, a new initiative of the Center for American Progress and the International Crisis Group to abolish genocide and mass atrocities. She most recently served as governance advisor in Indonesia with the Office of the United Nations Recovery Coordinator and has held international posts in Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, and Kosovo with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. In the United States, she created and directed the Conflict Prevention Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has also worked as the research director for the Role of American Military Power Project and the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Additionally, Ms. Sharma has worked on several political campaigns, providing foreign policy expertise and coordinating national security efforts to 2006 Democratic congressional candidates as well as the Kerry/Edwards 2004 and Gore/Lieberman 2000 presidential campaigns. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

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