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Darfur Refugees Bring Stories of Survival to Morrisville State College

College Hosts John Dau and "Voices From Darfur" April 17
MORRISVILLE—A dramatic display of sidewalk chalk art will grace the entrance of the John W. Stewart Center for Student Activities (STUAC) the week of April 17.

The art will be poignant expressions drawn by Morrisville State College students reacting to a plight in another part of the world—one that will soon be close to home.

Stories about the atrocities in Sudan’s western region of Darfur will come to the Morrisville State College campus April 17 when refugees share their experiences with an audience of students, faculty, staff and community members through Voices From Darfur, a national speaking tour sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in the STUAC gymnasium.

Among the speakers during the presentation will be John Dau, one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan upon which the movie “God Grew Tired of Us” is based. The movie depicts the journey of the “Lost Boys” to America.

Exiled from his home in southern Sudan by the Sudanese government, the Arab militia and the Sudanese Army, Dau is a survivor of a 14-year journey from his home village in Duk County, Sudan in 1987 to his arrival in Syracuse in 2001. He fled government troops seeking to convert or kill all males in his region of southern Sudan to Ethiopia, back to Sudan and then to a refugee camp in Kenya in 1994. During this journey of more than 1,000 miles and many years in refugee camps, he was one of the older boys who had to lead thousands of younger children in surviving violence and starvation.

Today, Dau serves as executive director of the John Dau Sudan Foundation, raising money for clinics and education centers in Sudan and continues to devote his life to bettering the lives of the Sudanese people.

“This event is a rare opportunity,” Diana Johnson, director of dining services at Morrisville State College said. “We invite everyone to participate and to join worldwide efforts to aid those in Sudan.”

The sidewalk art is one of the campus activities that will be held to heighten awareness of the growing refugee crisis in Darfur, which has claimed at least 400,000 lives, displaced 2.5 million people and has left 3.5 million Sudanese people to survive starvation and violence.

Other on-campus activities include viewings of the film, “God Grew Tired of Us” on April 15 and 16 at 1 and 7 p.m. in the STUAC theatre.

The “Voices From Darfur” presentation is sponsored in part by the Sheila Johnson Institute at Morrisville State College.

For more information about the event, contact Diana Johnson at 315-684-6090.

Morrisville State College offers more than 75 bachelor and associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college was the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.