TITLE: African Dilemmas of Self-Determination: Lessons from Sudan
SPEAKER: Francis Deng
EVENT DATE: 05/11/2006
RUNNING TIME: 53 minutes
Francis Deng, distinguished visiting scholar at the Library of Congress' John W. Kluge Center, presented a lecture titled "African Dilemmas of Self-Determination: Lessons from Sudan."
Deng believes Sudan has just embarked on an experiment that challenges the fundamental norms of the Organization of African Unity and its successor, the African Union. Although the preservation of borders inherited from the colonial powers has been a sacrosanct principle for the continent, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement concluded last year by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army gives people of Southern Sudan the right to decide, after a six-year period, whether to remain in a united Sudan or to secede. The agreement, however, stipulates that efforts will be exerted during the interim to promote unity.
Is Sudan setting a precedent that threatens the fundamental norms of the African Union? Is separatism an end in itself or a reaction to fundamental inequities and indignities? Can these wrongs be corrected to make unity acceptable? What is required to make that possible? Deng planned to answer these questions in his presentation.
Speaker Biography: Equally known as a diplomat and a scholar, Francis Deng has held a number of senior posts in the Sudanese Foreign Service, including minister of state for foreign affairs, and has served as the Sudanese ambassador to the United States, Canada and Scandinavia. Deng is professor of international law, politics and society and director of the Center for Displacement Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.