Sudanese learn from other federal countries

Participants at the workshop included (from left) Omima Ali, member, Mutawinat (women’s NGO of lawyers for legal aid ); Amal Ibrahim Hassan, member, NGO Platforum; Sannaa Eltahir, Editor, Sudan News Agency; Fatimma Badawi, Journalist, Sudan News Agency

Forty journalists and members of civil society organizations in Sudan took part in a public dialogue and awareness-raising workshop on the fundamentals of federalism and its potential use as a tool of conflict resolution.

The workshop, organized by the Forum of Federations as part of its program on federal governance and peace in Sudan, took place at the Rotana Hotel in Khartoum on Dec. 16, 2009.

Presenters included Mr. Muhammed Habib, Assistant Professor of Law from the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; and Dr. Marie Joelle Zahar, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Université de Montréal in Canada.

Mr. Habib presented an overview of the basic tenets of federalism as well as selected examples from other federal countries relevant to Sudan. Dr. Zahar focused on the potential advantages of a federal solution as a confidence-building measure between former adversaries coming out of violent conflict.

Of particular interest to participants was the issue of trust and confidence-building in the Sudan. Some participants asked questions about which federal mechanisms are most likely to promote effective recognition and respect of differences.

Others asked about the ways federalism could prove useful in preventing secession. The experience of the Province of Quebec and Canada was discussed with particular interest, as Quebec held two unsuccessful referendums on sovereignty, one in 1980 and the other in 1995; as well as the experience of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the latter having seceded from Ethiopia in 1993.

Journalists – many of whom are op-ed writers from major Sudanese newspapers – expressed interest in learning opportunities and materials from the Forum of Federations so they could regularly provide information on federalism to their readers. A working session was planed with journalists to further broaden their knowledge and understanding of federalism.

The Forum’s work in Sudan is funded by a $3.2 million grant from by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to be carried out over 21 months.

Participants included Salma Ahmed Koko, member of Andona – Nuba Mountains NGO; Abdo Mohamed Abdalrazig, journalist at Akhir Lahaza newspaper; Ann Saeed, reporter, Khartoum Monitor newspaper; Luemia Aljaili, journalist/human rights activist, Al Khbar newspaper/ KHT Center for Human Rights; Widad Abdrahman, member of CAC; Ikhlas Mohammed, member, NGO and human rights lawyer; Ahmed Jamaa, journalist/radio reporter for Sudan Armed Forces; Nasir Begdash, economic journalist for AltairWasat igtisadi newspapers; Mustafa Mohammed, member of the NGO known as HEMO; Khadiga A`id, journalist at Array Alaam newspaper; Intisar Fadealla, journalist at Array Alaam newspaper; Amal Mohammed, Member of an NGO and human rights lawyer; Shuaib Younis, journalist/reporter at Sudan Radio; Manal Saad, journalist at Altaiar newspaper; Nezar Musatafa, journalist/reporter at Citizen newspaper; Huda Abdalaraman, journalist/activist lawyer, NGO member; Saad Ahmed, journalist/reporter/human rights activist, Ilaf newspaper; Mai Higazi, journalist/reporter for Sudan TV; Ahmed Koko, NGO member of the NGO Andona; Ahmed Adam, member, NGO Platforum; Mohammed Mohammed, member of an NGO – Environmentalist Society; Aballa Khatir, Op-Ed writer/journalist, Alsahafa newspaper; Gibreel Makin, journalist at the Juba Post; Nada Abass, member, NGO- Gender Centre; Haifa Idris, member, NGO-Gender Centre; Mohammed Backery, member, Umma Party; Omima Ali, member, women’s NGO of lawyers for legal aid Mutawinat; Amal Hassan, member, NGO Platforum/legal aid; Sannaa Eltahir, Editor, Sudan News Agency; Fatimma Badawi, journalist, Sudan News Agency; Liela Kilanni, member, NGO- Andona; Mohammed Shareef, journalist, Alsahafa newspaper; Eltahir Omer, member, NGO Platforum; Randa Mohammed, member, NGO Platforum; Alwathig Mirghani, member, NGO Platforum/legal aid; Osman Osman, journalist at Alraed newspaper; Fatimma Awad, journalist at Akhir lahaza newspaper; Zienab Mohammed, journalist atAlhurra newspaper; Amir Bannga, journalist/reporter at Alwasat newspaper; Sulieman Sirri, journalist atAjras Ahoria newspaper; and Sabah Adam, journalist at Alayam newspaper.

Other recent Forum activities in Sudan:

Sudanese academics gain knowledge on how to make lasting peace

Sudanese academics heighten their federalism knowledge

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