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STAND: How a student movement begun at Georgetown made a difference

In preparation for the release of a new video on Darfur, “We Want Peace,” (teaser above), Sudanese artist Emmanuel Jal had some complimentary things to say about STAND, a student-founded anti-genocide organization. MTV news reports:

George Clooney has been using his celebrity to bring attention to the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan for years. Along with his dad, newsman Nick Clooney, he filmed the 2008 TV special “A Journey to Darfur” and now Clooney has teamed with an international coalition of stars to star in a music video for the “We Want Peace” global initiative.

The effort, led by Sudanese hip-hop artist, activist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal, benefits the Global Initiative for Sudan and also features cameos from Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former U.N. Secretary General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan.

“The issue has been there for a while, but we’re trying to gather support to raise awareness,” said Jal about the fears of another genocide and civil war in the country. A teaser for the video features Keys calling out to the “whole wide world” to scream out for peace. The clip features children holding up signs making the plea “We Want Peace,” and Jal said it was actually students who were instrumental in helping to alert the world to the genocide in his country.

“If the students [in the anti-genocide coalition] STAND and George Clooney never went down there to bring it up to the public, it would have been worse,” he said of the effort launched in 2005 by students at Georgetown University to shed light on the problem of genocide in Darfur. “They made a lot of noise and put pressure on [then] President George Bush, and he announced that there was a genocide [in Darfur].”

Jal said the key is making the public aware of the dire situation in his country, because, he believes, “If people know, they will do something.” (emphasis added)

Martha Heinemann Bixby and Benjamin Bixby

Martha Heinemann Bixby and Benjamin Bixby

This is a nice tribute to STAND, a movement that began at Georgetown University and has become a global force. Many congrats to Martha Heinemann Bixby and Benjamin Bixby and the other founders of STAND. The work they began at Georgetown has brought tremendous attention to the horrors in Darfur.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.