On October 31st, 2023, the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, directed by Professor Paul Amar, hosted a live webinar international conference aimed at raising awareness about the currently unfolding war and crisis in Sudan and keeping the inspiring consciousness and leadership models of the Sudanese revolution of 2019 alive. In 2019, a popular uprising brought down the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. The Orfalea Center webinar-conference in October 2023 explored the dynamics that led to the 2019 revolution while also unpacking the factors (national and international) that have contributed to the coup and current civil war that erupted on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) under Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti). This conference panelists considered the opportunities and constraints for transnational solidarity as variously positioned activists and artists inside and outside of Sudan navigate their relationship to the struggle while connecting to other movements worldwide.
We would like to thank our partners at the Security in Context Network and the Carnigie Corporation for their support in the success of this event.
The event was an inspiring success with a consistent viewership of 130-200 people throughout the two-hour run-time, and the Orfalea Center would like to thank our co-hosts – the African Studies department at McGill University and the Anthropology department at UC Irvine and thank the Carnegie Corporation and the Security in Context network that made this research and programming possible. The webinar-conference was organized over a period of four months by Omar Mansour of the Orfalea Center, and Profs. Khalid Medani, Samar al-Bulushi and Nisrin Elamin. The entire video can be viewed on our website here (insert link). We encourage you to share it widely.
Professor Paul Amar, director of the Orfalea Center, opened the online conference with the following framing questions: “What can we learn from the popular uprising that began in the Sudan in 2019? In this current moment today in 2023, a moment of political crisis and conflict in Sudan, why is it imperative that we not lose sight of the revolutionary consciousness that has been growing since the uprisings began? And how can we articulate transnational solidarity among artists, activists, academics, and resistance leaders in the current context?”
Amar then introduced our speakers for the day. We were happy to have with us Professor Nisrin Elamin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Toronto; Professor Khalid Mustafa Medani, Associate Professor in Political Science and Islamic Studies, where he is also the Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Chair of the African Studies Program at McGill University. We were joined by Dr. Iman Ahmed, a leader of the Sudan Doctors Union in Canada. The Sudan Doctors Union is one of the most vital resources on the ground in Sudan at the moment, and Iman spoke about the great work they are doing in terms of transnational solidarity. Our panel of Sudanese artists-activists included Reem Aljeally, visual artist, curator, and founder of the Muse Multi Studio, an integrative regional artistic organization with a contemporary art gallery in Khartoum. We also had with us Sudanese-American artist and designer Waad Husein, co-founder of the Badu Collective, an artist-organizing group rooted in exploring identity and creativity.
We were also honored by the participation of two members of the Sudanese Resistance Committees, Marine Alneel, and Maryam Alfaqih, introduced by Nisrin Elamin. Marina Neil is the Executive Director of Afia for Community and Psychological Wellness Services. She’s a clinical psychologist and researcher with extensive experience working with people and communities affected by war. Her focus is on psycho, politically valid mental health services, research, and training. She’s also an organizer and activist active during the ongoing revolution and is a resistance committee member. Maryam Al-faqih is a Sudanese democracy, social justice, and peace activist who has played a pivotal role in the nonviolent struggle for democracy, freedom, peace, and justice in Sudan since 2018. She started contributing to Sudan’s December 2018 revolution by helping establish her neighborhood’s resistance committee in Bahari. She’s an elected member of the Bahari Coordinating Committee. She also has a degree in architecture.