Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tom Prichard pursues peace, education in South Sudan

From Sudan-

Tom Prichard is working to build 41 schools in the new nation of South Sudan. But he is also building something else: peace between former enemies in this war-torn region of East Africa.

South Sudan, which gained independence in July, has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the world. The need for better education is plain. And after decades of civil war, the need to build peace between former enemies is equally urgent.

Mr. Prichard uses one to support the other. "The pathway to peace has to be doing things that grow grass-roots reconciliation and understanding," says Prichard, executive director of Sudan Sunrise, the nonprofit group he founded in 2005.

In the 55 years since it gained independence from Egypt and Britain, Sudan has been in a state of nearly constant civil war. From 1983 to 2004, the hard-line Islamist regime of Omar al-Bashir waged war against the largely Christian population in the south.

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