The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

This week, we have an opportunity to repeat last semester’s success at reaching President Obama’s ear.


Last fall, we spoke directly to President Obama. In less than 24 hours, we were the most tweeted topic in DC and had the number one spot on MTV’s Twitter tracker. Because of our efforts, we shed light on the Sudanese referendum and Darfur. Not only did we speak to Obama, but he answered, telling us that Sudan is a high priority for his administration, directly crediting student efforts, and urging us to continue to "put pressure on your elected representatives to get involved."

Now, we have another important opportunity to ask the White House about how the U.S. will react regarding Sudan. We can act together in order to ensure that U.S. continues to prevent an outbreak of war and keep attention on Darfur.We have four opportunities this week to reach the White House’s ear: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We will be sending information on each of these days about what and who to target with your tweets.

Following the President’s Address, senior White House officials will take your questions about issues covered in the speech live from the White House. We need you to tweet your questions–just like you did last fall–to ask President Obama what the U.S. will do for Sudan.

On Tuesday, January 25th, start by tweeting and posting on the White House Facebook:

@whitehouse Pres. Obama, what steps will you take to prevent the outbreak of war following Southern Sudan’s referendum? #sotu

Tweet all day, and tune in online for the live speech from the White House at 9 pm EST at

On Wednesday, January 26th, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs!

Tweet the following before Press Secretary Robert Gibbs holds his post-State of the Union press briefing.

@PressSec what steps will the U.S. gov. take to prevent the outbreak of war following Southern Sudan’s referendum? #1Q

Tweet all day, and tune in online for the live speech from the White House at 9 pm EST at

On Thursday, January 27th, at 2:30 p.m. EST, President Obama will answer our questions in a live YouTube interview from the White House.

Last year, more than 700,00 votes were cast based on constituents’ questions.

Let’s make sure that today our questions are answered. Today, submit your questions at

Post the following:

@PresObama what steps will the U.S. gov. take to prevent the outbreak of war following Southern Sudan’s referendum? #1Q

Learn more at

Lastly, on Friday, January 26th, Vice President Biden will be answering our questions.

Go to to submit your question and check back again to see his answers on Friday.

Please contact your Outreach Coordinator with any questions about our Tweet-a-thon. We can repeat our success and continue to create accountability on national, public forums with this week’s opportunity.

Edina High School STAND Educates, Advocates and Donates

In January, history will take place in Sudan. The referendum has the potential to create peace in the war ridden country. STAND’s Edina High School chapter, in Minnesota, is holding an event on December 9th and 10th where Jamba Juice, Bruegger’s Bagels, custom designed t-shirts and more will be on sale. Petitions and actions will also be available for students to sign and send to our local representatives.

Last year we collected over 500 signatures on a banner that we sent to Representative Erik Paulson, giving him the push to sign the Sudan Caucus. This year, we hope we can be just as, if not more, successful in urging him to co-sponsor S.Con.Res.71. We will also be featuring our efforts to raise awareness for the Congo. The proceeds from our sales will be sent to the The Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic.

Our goal is to teach students, who may not be able to point out Sudan or Congo on a map, more than just an overview of the conflict. We want to teach them what they can do to help kids their own age, who just happened to be born in a war stricken country.

Submitted by Edina HS STAND

Want to share how your chapter is participating in the 12 Days of STAND? E-mail us at and your chapter could be featured on our blog!

GW STAND Hosts Dodge Ball for Darfur Tournament

GW STAND is excited to announce our annual Dodgeball for Darfur Tournament. We are expecting fierce competition from organizations, fraternities and sororities, Living Learning Communities, and student organized teams. Each team will compete for bragging rights, a trophy, and even a prize! The event is scheduled for Sunday, December 5 from 2-5PM in the Lerner Health and Wellness Center. Teams range from 5 to 7 people, and each organization can submit as many teams as they wish. GWU Men’s Rugby has come out in strong support with four teams. Many are looking forward to this year’s faceoff between the College Democrats and College Republicans. This highly anticipated event will also feature a STAND team made up of veterans and our newest members.

We are charging $5 per person with proceeds going to the non-profit Calling All Crows This organization serves the internally displaced women of Darfur through their trees, training, and donkey carts program. This program focuses on the protection, livelihood training, and income generation for women in two Darfuri camps, Abu Shouk and El Salaam.

There will also be a two letter writing campaigns at this event. The letters will include one to Secretary Clinton asking for a Darfur Diplomat and another in support of S. Con. Res. 71, which recognizes preventing genocide as a national U.S. interest. We hope teams on deck to play will take the time not only to learn more about STAND’s conflict areas but also to take these actions in support of GW STAND.

We host this event every year. This event raises money for a great organization, andkeeps teams coming back year after year. This year we expect a fun day filled with advocacy, dodgeball, and human spirit.

Harwich High School hosts Gabriel Bol Deng

12 Days of STAND Event

Last Thursday, Harwich High School hosted Gabriel Bol Deng, founder of Hope for Ariang, and one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Gabriel started the day by being featured on WCAI’s show, The Point with Mindy Todd, discussing his experiences in Sudan, his journey to the United States, his efforts to build a school in his home village of Ariang, and the upcoming referendum for Southern Sudan independence.

Following the show, he came to visit the school. After having lunch in the school cafeteria, he visited a government class, discussing the history and politics of Sudan. Last period, he talked to a school-wide assembly about how to "Move a Mountain" – his motivational presentation based on his experiences as a refugee from the War in Southern Sudan.  In the evening, we hosted a screening and discussion of the award-winning documentary Rebuilding Hope, which follows Gabriel and two other Lost Boys as they return to Sudan to look for their families and to begin to do humanitarian work in their home villages.

HHS STAND would like to thank Gabriel for coming to Harwich High School and to Hope for Ariang Board Member Cynthia Davis for bringing him to the Cape. All of the proceeds of all of our STANDFast events this week will go to benefit Hope for Ariang to support education in Southern Sudan.

U.N. Secretary General Speaks at Seton Hall

On November 22nd, Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon gave an end of the year policy address to the Seton Hall Community as part of the John C. Whitehead School of International Relations and Diplomacy’s World Leaders Forum.

During his talk, Mr. Ban focused on the U.N. agenda and the “big three” challenges that the international community faces:  climate change, the global fight against poverty, and addressing the plight of human beings in crisis.  He said that we need to create “a greener world for all…a more prosperous world for all… and a safer world for all.”

In regards to helping human beings in crisis, Mr.  Ban assured students that the U.N. is, continues to be, and needs to be the “world’s first responder” using the U.N. response to Pakistan, Haiti, and Burma as an example. “We did the same in Darfur. For years, conflict raged, unchecked. I made it a top priority immediately upon taking office. With tough diplomacy, we got the first UN peacekeepers in. Today, the mission continues to protect civilians and deliver humanitarian aid.”

When asked by SHU STAND’s Patrick Daley, “Given the state of impending conflict in Southern Sudan, what will you and the U.N. do over the coming weeks to ensure that the January 9th referendum for independence does not deteriorate into full-scale civil war?,” Mr. Ban responded by first acknowledging the power of the student movement that has shed light on the crisis in Darfur and in Sudan at large. He then agreed that Sudan faces a challenge in January regarding the referendum and again stated that “should there be violence, we are ready to act.”

As STAND activists, it is important for us to listen, understand, and continue to embody Mr. Ban’s message. Not only should we take his words seriously but we need to continue to pressure and engage Mr. Ban, the U.N., and the U.S. government, to guarantee that the international community does not allow for a civil war to break out in Sudan.  It is our duty as the citizens of the world. As Mr. Ban said, “thinking globally, acting collectively as global citizens, involves you. It involves your engagement, your commitment, and your conviction that you, yourself, can make a difference.”

-Grassroots Outreach Coordinator Katie Walsh

Sudan Education Coordinator Attends D.C. Rally

I have been a Sudan activist since early 2005. I have never had the opportunity to attend a rally, however, until this past Sunday, November 21. A few feet from the White House, I stood beside Lost Boys of Sudan, Darfuri refugees, students, and concerned citizens to rally in solidarity for the people of Sudan.

It was a perfect fall day. One by one, speakers took the mic protesting the handling of the situation in Sudan. Darfuri refugees joined in song and dance, calling for President Obama and Vice President Biden to fulfill their promise to Sudan. Students gave passionate pleas for justice, asking, how many more men, women, and children must die? The crowd commended the movement for all we’ve fought to accomplish. It was a cheer for movement to journey forward, calling for a reawakening and continuation of the grassroots movement.

After all the speakers finished at the White House, we marched to the Chad Embassy to advocate for the millions of Darfur refugees that have been displaced in Chad, despite the Chadian government allowing indicted President Omar al-Bashir to travel there. As we headed to the Chad embassy we chanted “al-Bashir to ICC, Janjaweed to ICC, Justice Justice in Sudan.” It was hard not to get lost in the energy our movement had at that time. That day felt as if our voices, our passion, and our resolve echoed through out our nations capital.

Aaron Alberico
Sudan Education Coordinator

Students Host Sudan Week To encourage awareness and action throughout the Louisville community

         In the next one hundred days, some of the most important events in Sudan’s history will take place. South Sudan will decide in the January referendum, as part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, whether or not to become an independent nation. This referendum has the potential to be a significant step towards peace, but an even greater potential to cause a return to civil war between North and South Sudan and the bloodiest war of this century. Violence in Darfur is also increasing rapidly, and with the upcoming referendum, the international community seems to be turning a blind eye. The United States government needs to take an active role in ensuring peace is established throughout Sudan, including Darfur. Our government will only take action if we create pressure.

         For this reason, from October 18-22, Bellarmine University’s STAND chapter sponsored a week of events dedicated to raising awareness about genocidal violence in Darfur and South Sudan perpetrated by the government in Khartoum. The emphasis was on why now is such a critical moment for Sudan, and what every individual can do to help create peace. The week’s events were designed to increase individual understanding of the conflict, encourage activism and raise money for Bellarmine’s Sister School in a refugee camp, Djibal, in Chad for Darfuri refugee children. Below is an explanation of some of the events that took place and why they had such an impact.

Monday Oct 18- Panel of speakers

        There were over 50 people present at this event that included guests Phil Nippert, a local activist and expert of Darfur and Sudan, Bob Brousseau, founder of the Kentuckiana Interfaith Taskforce on Darfur, James Malou, a Sudanese man who now lives in Louisville and works for Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and Peter Thiong and Ngor Biar, also from South Sudan. It was an honor to also have Buol Lual Mayen present to speak and answer questions. Buol was one of the peace negotiators and officer of the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972 and also joined the South and North armed struggle during the civil war. He was the former Chairman of Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya, where many of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” were resettled from. James Malou had actually been in Kakuma Refugee Camp as a young boy and was resettled in the United States with the help of Buol. It was truly incredible to hear from those who have actually lived through the atrocities that are still being committed in Sudan each and every day. Each Sudanese man that was present had his own story of how the horrific practices of the Sudanese government had affected him. They told of their entire families being murdered by their own government. This kind of inhumanity must not continue, which is why we must speak out against it. It was truly an informative and powerful event.

Tuesday Oct 19- Day of action and activism

        A banner with “Hands for Sudan” written on it was available for students, faculty, and staff to stamp their hand on in paint as a way of showing their support for the people of Sudan and their opposition to the government in Khartoum. The banner was hung up in the café and has now been sent to President Obama along with a letter, urging him to take concrete action on Sudan. We want our government, particularly our president, to know that we care about what is going on in Sudan and are watching to make sure our government does what it can to end and
prevent further violence.

        Over 200 people signed a petition urging Senators McConnell and Bunning to vote for and cosponsor Senate Concurrent Resolution 71 for genocide prevention. There was also a mass call-in to our Kentucky Senators and Representatives, as well as 1-800-GENOCIDE to pressure our government to take action on Sudan and be more active in bringing peace. One phone call and one signature really make a huge difference, and we had over 200! If our government knows we care enough about these issues, it will take action. We sent them a message, now it is their
time to listen and respond.

Wednesday Oct 20- “Silence for Sudan” day of silence

         A large group of students refrained from speaking for an entire day in solidarity with those who have been silenced by genocidal violence. The day closed with a Breaking the Silence Prayer Service in the Grotto under the Chapel. We were silent, but now pledge to speak out against genocide and atrocities in Sudan and around the world.

Thursday Oct 21- The New Sudan movie showing

        The New Sudan is a documentary by the Louisville-based film company NADUS. The director of the film, Coury Deeb, who had just returned from Sudan, was present afterwards to answer questions and talk about his experience filming the movie. There was a great group of people present, and it was an awesome closing event to the active and impacting Sudan Week on campus.

        Save Darfur t-shirts were for sale throughout the week. Over $1,000 have been raised for our Sister School in Camp Djibal, Chad. This $1,000 will go directly towards providing Darfuri refugee children with a quality education. After all, it is the children who will rebuild Darfur. There are a limited number of t-shirts left, and if anyone is interested in purchasing one to support our Sister School, please contact Katie Chal at Also, if you missed out on the week’s events and want to know how to take action or have any questions about STAND, Sudan Week, or the current state of affairs in Sudan, please contact Katie Chal.
         Thanks to everyone who participated in the week’s activities. You have truly contributed to bringing peace to Sudan. Be sure to continue to follow Sudan in the news and on the web; our action must not stop now.

– Katie Chal

STAND, the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, empowers student leaders with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. Born out of the fight to stop the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, STAND seeks to unite students around the world in a permanent anti-genocide constituency.


UpSTANDer of the Week: Ashley Jowell of Durham, N.C.

Name: Ashley Jowell

Position: Durham Academy STAND Chapter Leader

City: Durham, North Carolina


What’s your story?

            I’m from Durham, North Carolina and have lived there my entire life. My sister and I have always been passionate about fighting genocide and helping others around the world. My interest and passion for fighting genocide began when I first learned about the Holocaust in my Hebrew School class and my parents.

 Inspired by this, from a young age, my sister and I would raise money for the Save Darfur Coalition.  Two and a half years ago, we were in Chautauqua, New York doing a fundraiser for Save Darfur and a student came up to us and told us about STAND. At the time, I didn’t consider being a part of it, but over the past summer, once I decided that I wanted to form an anti-genocide club at my school, I remembered STAND. After finding more out about STAND, I realized how wonderful it was and knew it was the club that was perfect for me. This is Durham Academy STAND’s first year, and so far it has been extremely successful!


Why do you care?

I care because I realize how privileged I am to live my life in peace and my goal is to help those less fortunate then myself. Listening to Carl Wilkens at the North Carolina STAND retreat last Saturday confirmed my belief that we are all part of one race: the human race, as Mr. Wilkens said. I feel that it is my moral obligation to help people less fortunate then myself and to help fellow human beings across the world. Why would one not want to make a difference and help save the lives of others who are in an inhumane and unjust situation?


What are your goals for the year?

My goals for the year are to help strengthen and develop my chapter at Durham Academy. We are working on having Carl Wilkens come to our school and we also hope to organize a 5k and vigil service with other STAND Chapters in our area. We aim to participate in lobbying events with local officials fighting genocide and to strengthen and help the STAND anti-genocide movement in any way that we can!


What makes me STAND?

I feel that by being part of STAND, I can inspire and motivate myself and others to make a difference in the lives of genocide victims around the world, as well as to help prevent genocide from continuing. My goal is to help truly make “never again” a reality and I know that STAND is a way that I can help anti-genocide activists achieve this goal. I STAND because I know that this is a way that I can help someone suffering under the worst crime of humanity. Furthermore, I want to motivate other people to make a difference in the world and to improve the lives of others who are living under terrible conditions.



Outreach Coordinator Interviews Jennifer Quigley with U.S. Campaign for Burma

I’ve heard Jennifer Quigley speak twice at STAND conferences, and after one session at  STAND Camp 2010 that she held for students concerning an update on Burma, I had the pleasure of lagging behind and talking to her directly with a small group of interested students. Jennifer is very personable and she is willing to discuss current events in Burma with anyone from the most experienced policy wonk to students who she notes have asked her, “What’s a Burma?” I admire her passion and hard work as an activist, and her advice brings perspective and offers motivation on a realistic level.

Name: Jennifer Quigley

Job: Advocacy Director for the U.S. Campaign for Burma

Alma Mater: George Washington University

City: Washington, DC

What’s your story? What led you to STAND up for Burma?

Ten years ago when I was in college, I learned about the atrocities taking place in Burma when a Burmese dissident came and spoke at my university.  He asked us to organize a conference on Burma and we did.  I became immersed in all things Burma and was hooked by the determination and hope the people had despite the level of adversity facing them – a nonviolent movement for freedom, democracy and human rights up against one of the world’s largest armies and even though they had an iconic leader in Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, most of the world didn’t know anything about the situation in Burma.  The most common response I received in the US when talking about Burma was ‘What’s a Burma?’ 

I knew what was happening, I couldn’t stand by and do nothing, I had to STAND with the people of Burma.  Aung San Suu Kyi has a famous quote: “Please use your liberty to promote ours.” I took her message to heart.  I was a Burma activist here in the US for a number of years then during graduate school, I had the opportunity to go and volunteer for the Women’s League of Burma on the Thai-Burma border.  It was honor to work for women from Burma, who risk their own lives to help their fellow sisters in Burma suffering some of the most incomprehensible brutalities, including women who were taken by the Burmese army to work as forced porters during the day and gang raped by the soldiers at night.  

The women are fearless.  Their courage inspired me to put Aung San Suu Kyi’s words into action back here in the US.  I’ve been working at the US Campaign for Burma for the past three and half years, raising awareness about the situation in Burma, getting the US government to increase sanctions against Burma’s military junta, increasing humanitarian aid to internally displaced people in Eastern Burma, and fighting for justice for the survivors and victims of the regime’s atrocities.    

What makes the situation in Burma personal for you?

I have to say Burma has become personal to me because of the impact my colleagues from Burma have had on my life.  Their hope in the face of adversity, their courage in the face of fear, and their commitment to doing everything they  can to help their country and people is admirable.   

What motivates you daily, especially when busy and overwhelmed?

My worst day in Washington, DC will never compare to what people in Burma confront every day.

What are some challenges have you faced in your role as an activist, and how have you learned from your work in human rights?

One of the hardest things I face is the abstract nature of advocacy work.  You don’t see results right away, our work takes months and years to see results.  Advocacy work is like getting to the heart of eradicating a disease.  Treating symptoms would be easier and deliver quicker results but they’ll keep coming back unless you work to eradicate the main cause of the symptoms. 

What can we students do to help out with the situation in Burma?

There are three things I consider as key roles for students.  The first is raising awareness.  It’s sad but true that I still get people asking ‘What’s a Burma?’  One of the greatest weapons, Burma’s dictator has is his control over information.  If people don’t know about a situation, they can’t do anything to help.  We have the power to take that weapon away from Burma’s dictator and it starts with our freedom of speech.

The second is putting into practice our power as constituents in a democracy.  You can lobby your elected representatives to sanction Burma’s generals’ bank accounts, provide humanitarian assistance to those half a million IDPs, and use our role in the United Nations, to not only shine a spotlight on the crimes against humanity happening in Burma, but to fight for the justice Burma’s people rightly deserve.   Without students and community members calling their elected representatives’ attention to the issue, it could be lost in the shuffle.  I’ve seen one voicemail from a constituent be enough to get their Senator to support a bill and I’ve seen it take 100 phone calls.  Without any advocacy, there wouldn’t be support.   

The third is volunteering.  We do get many requests from groups on the Thai-Burma border looking for volunteers to come and work for them for a few months to a year.  You could do what I did and spend time learning about the situation (health, human rights, politics) and contribute to their crucial work.

What are some tips you have for young activists?

Don’t be discouraged, recognize there are so many things for you to do to help.  Some things are small and may seem insignificant but they are not.  Every little thing you can do helps.  This all started for me when one Burmese dissident came and gave a speech at my university.  He couldn’t foresee the impact it would have but he knew he needed to speak out.

How do you like your coffee? (or do you prefer tea?)

I don’t like to drink coffee or tea but I like to eat tea.  There is a famous Burmese salad made with pickled tea leaves (called Lipeto)– it sounds strange but it’s delicious.

How many languages do you know?

I’m terrible with languages.  I’m not fluent in anything other than English.  Good to know I can still do this work without being a linguist.


Megan Wanee


New Chapter Experience: Part Two

Hey upSTANDers!

If you read my first post, you know that over the course of this year I’ll be live-blogging the experience of creating a new STAND chapter at the Catholic University of America. Today, I’m going to talk about the all-important first meeting.

To me, setting the agenda and running the meeting were the easy parts. The topics that should be covered at an introductory meeting are fairly straightforward and intuitive: I started by having everyone introduce themselves, and then moved into a 10-minute summary of why STAND exists and how we use smart advocacy to promote genocide prevention.  There were administrative items to cover—officer volunteers, choosing a regular meeting time and place, etc.—and then I turned the remainder of the meeting over to the attendees to brainstorm possible events and activities for the year ahead. We wrapped it up within an hour, and everyone left feeling excited and engaged.

As smoothly as the meeting itself went, I was surprised at the number of headaches involved in actually making it happen. The logistics seemed simple enough: pick a time, pick a room, and advertise it as far in advance as possible. But appearances can be deceiving. How could I figure out what time would be best for as many potential attendees as possible when I didn’t yet have a group? The issues of venue and advertising created even bigger challenges. At CUA, only officially recognized student groups are permitted to reserve classrooms or conference rooms for meetings, or post flyers in common areas. At the time, STAND was not yet approved, and the Office of Campus Activities was taking its sweet time replying to my request for recognition. Unless I wanted to indefinitely delay the first meeting, these options were effectively closed.

To overcome these difficulties required some creativity. My residence hall has a fairly spacious and comfortable lobby, so I decided that it would work well as a meeting location until we could reserve “official” space. To choose the time and advertise the meeting, I relied heavily on social media. Over the summer, I had created a Facebook page for CUA STAND; by the beginning of the academic year, the page had accumulated about 100 fans. I used Google Forms to create a quick survey (click here for a tutorial on how to use this excellent tool) asking people to list two or three times that worked best for them, and sent the link to all of the page’s fans. Based on the responses, and after a quick check of the official university calendar to ensure that there would be no conflicting events, I picked a date and time that would (I hoped) ensure maximum attendance. I created a Facebook event (with a promise of free food featured prominently in the event title), and asked all of my friends to promote it heavily as heavily as they could both online and through word of mouth. I also plugged STAND at other student organization meetings and, recognizing that media coverage is the best form of free advertising, convinced our student newspaper to write an article.

These stopgap solutions were by and large highly effective. Turnout at the meeting exceeded my expectations, and the coverage in the student newspaper even prompted a professor to email me out of the blue and offer to serve as our faculty sponsor. Despite some initial challenges, CUA STAND had gotten off to a strong start, but it was just a start. In my next few posts, I’ll talk about some of the grunt work that comes after the first meeting: choosing officers, getting university recognition and sponsorship, and starting to plan out events. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!