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UND Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies to host visiting fellow, screen documentary film on Sudan Crisis

Posted on 2/28/2013

The University of North Dakota Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies (CHRGS) Studies announced today that it will host Kevin Brooks, professor and chair of English at North Dakota State in Fargo, as its spring visiting fellow.

Brooks wrote and produced the documentary African Soul, American Heart (ASAH), which tells the story of Joseph Akol Makeer, one of Fargo's Lost Boys of Sudan. Now a college graduate, author and father of three children born in the United States, Makeer is still troubled by the orphans that were left behind in his native country. The film follows Makeer back to a Kenyan refugee camp and his village in Sudan.

The film project led Brooks to develop the ASAH Foundation, which has established the ASAH School for Orphan Girls in Duk Payul, South Sudan. African Soul, American Heart will be shown at noon, Monday, March 4, in the Memorial Union Lecture Bowl and at 7 that evening at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks. Brooks will participate in an audience discussion about the film at each showing.

On Tuesday, March 5, Brooks also will give a keynote address titled "How to Build a Country from Scratch: Three Examples From South Sudan," at 7 p.m., in the Chester Fritz Library East Asian Room. He'll also be featured on a panel addressing the issue of "Integrating Refugees into the Community: The Role of Universities," at 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, March 6, in the Baker Courtroom of the UND School of Law.

All events during Brooks' fellowship are free and open to the public.

Professor Gregory S. Gordon, director of CHRGS and associate professor of law at UND, said that this is a great opportunity to work with such a distinguished expert in our region to educate the community on an important issue.

"The ongoing humanitarian crises in Sudan and South Sudan affect the lives of hundreds of thousands," said Gordon. "The Center is honored to host Dr. Brooks and showcase his knowledge about the suffering in South Sudan and the important efforts he has taken to help alleviate it. These events remind us that those affected are not only on the other side of the world, they are also our neighbors. Hosting Dr. Brooks also reminds us of how much important expertise we have right here in our own backyard."

Schedule of events:

Monday, March 4: Showing of documentary, African Soul, American Heart, noon, Memorial Union Lecture Bowl, and 7 p.m., Empire Arts Center.

Tuesday, March 5: Kevin Brooks, keynote address, How to Build a Country From Scratch: Three Examples From South Sudan, 7 p.m., East Asian Room, Chester Fritz Library, UND campus.

Wednesday, March 6: Panel Discussion, Integrating Refugees into the Community: The Role of Universities, 12:15 p.m., Baker Courtroom, UND School of Law, on campus.

Meagen Essen
program assistant
UND Center of Human Rights and Genocide Studies

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