For Immediate Release
Des Moines, Iowa – August 27, 2012
We are pleased to announce the creation of the United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association [USASSCA] an umbrella organization that brings together Sudanese with South Sudanese Communities in the Diaspora. The group, once fully formed a year from now, will include elected representatives from eight regions:
- Blue Nile,
- North and Central Sudan,
- Darfur, and
- The Nuba Mountains of Sudan
- Bahr El-Ghazal,
- Equatoria, and
- Upper Nile in South Sudan.
While USASSCA is not affiliated with any of the political or military groups, its formation has been officially endorsed by the American branches of
- The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM),
- The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N),
- The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM),
- The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and
- The Beja Congress
In addition to these groups, leaders of diaspora communities have endorsed the formation of USASSCA from:
- The Blue Nile Community Association of the United States,
- The Association of the Sons of Masselit (Darfur),
- Beja, Darfur, and Nuba Mountain regions of Sudan,
- Bar El-Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile regions of South Sudan.
These major Sudanese and South Sudanese diaspora organizations and individual leaders were joined by activists and leaders from
- United to End Genocide,
- The United Nations Association of Iowa,
- The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD),
- The Center for the Study and Prevention of Genocide at the University of Northern Iowa
- The Sparks Fly Upward Foundation
- The Damanga Coalition
- The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
- Sudanese, South Sudanese, and American religious and community leaders from the Jewish, Catholic, Presbyterian and Episcopal traditions.
The meeting to create USASSCA took place at Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Des Moines, Iowa, a Reform Jewish Congregation, hosted by Rabbi David Kaufman, HelpNuba.net, and the Steering Committees of Help Nuba and USASSCA. The proposal to create the organization was unanimously approved by the 150 national and regional community leaders present at the initial meeting on August 26, 2012. The gathering also approved the immediate creation by the Steering Committee of an Acting Board and Advisory Council for the organization which will be announced soon as well as the creation of the USASSCA Congress over the coming year to be inducted at the organization’s next annual meeting at the end of June, 2013.
USASSCA aims to have members of the USASSCA Congress be elected representatives of regional communities from across the United States with the goal that the make-up of the USASSCA Congress representation from each community will resemble as closely as possible, the broader make-up of each regional community in the Diaspora.
The Help Nuba – USASSCA Conference featured a Walk to End Genocide in which nearly 250 people participated, the vast majority of them members of the Sudanese and South Sudanese Diaspora.
Presentations and speeches at the joint conference were given by in no particular order:
- Hawa Salih – Presidential Woman of Courage Award Winner and Darfur activist,
- Niemat Ahmadi – The Director of Global Partnerships at United to End Genocide, Ngor Mayol – A former “Lost Boy” of Sudan,
- Rabbi David Kaufman of Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Des Moines, Iowa
- Father Bashir Abdelsamad of the Nuba Community in Cincinnati, Ohio,
- Philip Tutu, Chairman SPLM-N in the USA,
- Kristen Anderson, Founder of Iowa Center for Genocide Prevention and a 2011 Carl Wilken’s Fellow of United to End Genocide,
- Dr. Henry Lejukole of the South Sudanese Community in Des Moines, Iowa,
- Rev. Francis Chan of the South Sudanese Community in Des Moines, Iowa,
- Yashar Vasef of the Iowa United Nations Association,
- Philip Hamed Nima of the Blue Nile Community Association,
- Thabor Ding Deng speaking on behalf of the SPLM,
- Daowd Salih speaking on behalf of the SLM,
- Idris Gardoud representing the Nuba Community in Des Moines, Iowa
- Ibrahim Tahir Ahmed representing the Beja Community,
- Rev. Goanar Chol of the Presbyterian Community of Des Moines,
- Ali Hassan representing the Darfur Community in Des Moines, Iowa,
- Digol Deng of the South Sudanese Refugee Children’s Foundation,
- Anwar Elnour representing the Darfur Community,
- Sam Akec of the Bahr El-Ghazal Community and SPLM of Iowa,
- Mark Finkelstein, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines,
- Dr. Stephen Gaies, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa,
- Faith McDonnell, the Director of Religious Liberty Programs and of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan at the Institute on Religion & Democracy in Washington D.C.,
- Dr. Alan Koslow, Des Moines vascular surgeon and member of Team Rubicon; recently returned from a trip into South Sudan (June 27th–July 15th) to help set up the third refugee camp in Upper Nile with the International Medical Corps.,
- Yousif Suliman, President of the Sons of Massalit,
- Yassir Kouri of Nuba Vision
The members of the Steering Committee of USASSCA are:
Ibrahim Tahrir Ahmed
- Ibrahim Tahrir Ahmed is a representative of the Beja Community
Blue Nile Leadership
- Philip Nima is Secretary of Information of the Blue Nile Association.
- Anwar Elnour is a leader of the Darfur Community.
- Ali Hassan is the President of the Darfur People’s Association of Iowa.
- Mohammed Mhdi is a the Vice President of the Darfur People’s Association of Iowa.
Nuba Mountain Leadership
- Philip Tutu is the Chairman of the SPLM-N in the United States.
- Jumaa Adam is a Member of the Iowa Nuba Community Leadership and is one of the Founders of Help Nuba.
- Yousif Adam is a Member of the Iowa Nuba Community Leadership.
- Idris Gardoud is a Member of the Iowa Nuba Community Leadership.
- Mukhtar Mukhtar is a Member of the Iowa Nuba Community Leadership.
- Ekram Kachu is a Member of the Iowa Nuba Community Leadership.
South Sudanese Leadership
Machar “Sam” Akec
- Sam Akec is the leader of the SPLM in Iowa and a representative of the Bar El-Ghazal region.
Rev. Francis Nyawello Chan
- Rev. Francis Chan is a Catholic deacon working with the South Sudanese community in Des Moines, Iowa and a representative of the Upper Nile Region.
Rev. Goanar Chol
- Rev. Goanar Chol is the Sudanese Ministries Resource Person for the Presbytery of Des Moines, Iowa and does peace work in Jonglei State in South Sudan. He is also a representative of the Upper Nile region.
- Henry Lejukole is a leader in the South Sudanese Community in Iowa and is a representative of the Equatoria region.