Buffett Center Brings Regional Sudanese Leaders to Campus for Capacity Building Good Governance Fellowship
In May, the Buffett Center will welcome to campus five political leaders from a marginalized, contested region in Sudan, who will spend six weeks in the United States on a governance capacity building program developed through the extraordinary leadership of WCAS Senior William Kalema.
The program will enable these political leaders to hone management, negotiation, and other skills of effective governance.
|Sudan Fellowship team (from left to right): William Kalema, Khairunnisa Mohamedali, Ayuko Nimura, Aditi Malik, and Maavi Norman
Following independence, Sudan has experienced two deadly and protracted civil wars, with most of the fighting taking place in the South. Since 1983 over 1.9 million civilians have been killed in southern Sudan, and more than 4 million southerners were forced to flee their homes. In January 2005, the Sudan Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the southern-based political party, signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The CPA, which ended the decades long Civil War in Sudan, signified an important step to building peace in the country.
Two years following the signing of Sudan’s peace agreement, William Kalema, then a freshman and now a current WCAS senior, was a summer intern with the International Law Institute in Kampala, Uganda. He was tasked with helping to set up a Legislative Drafting and Parliamentary Systems Diploma program for newly appointed Members of Parliament (MPs) from South Kordofan, Sudan—a region of the country heavily afflicted by the destructive war. Sudan’s Civil War left a vacuum of well-educated political leadership in the South and other marginalized areas, including South Kordofan, a contested region bordering the North and the South. After interviewing and speaking with a number of MPs, William realized that there is a tremendous need to build the governance capacity of regional leaders. To be effective leaders in implementing the peace agreement, the MPs cited the need to learn management skills, negotiation techniques, and strategic planning.
For the past two-and-a-half years since returning to campus, William, along with student colleagues, faculty and administrators, and partners outside the university, worked to set up the Sudan Good Governance Fellowship, a capacity building initiative aimed to equip SPLM political leaders from South Kordofan with the required tools to effectively implement key protocols of the CPA, whose implementation is stalled to this day. The successful implementation of the peace process in South Kordofan is crucial for the overall success of the CPA and for preventing a return to war across Sudan. The Fellowship program will begin in May and last six weeks covering curriculum in management; negotiation; consensus building; conflict and dispute resolution; problem solving and decision analysis; and strategic planning.
The Fellows were selected on the basis of key involvement in the peace process, recommendations from observers on the ground, and a strong command of English. The Faculty Lead and Principal Investigator for the program is John Hagan, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law. In addition to Kalema, the Fellowship team includes political science PhD students Maavi Norman, who is spearheading the design of the Kellogg component of the Fellowship; Khairunnisa Mohamedali, who is designing the curriculum; Aditi Malik, who is setting up a speaker’s series; and Ayuko Nimura.
The Fellowship program will be comprised of several parts. At the School of Continuing Studies and the Kellogg School of Management, the Fellows’ curriculum will emphasize management, leadership, negotiation techniques, strategic planning, policymaking, organizational behavior and dynamics, budgeting and resource allocation, conflict and dispute resolution, and project management. The Fellows will undergo a workshop on negotiation and mediation through Kellogg School of Management’s Dispute Resolution Research Center (DRRC). The goal behind this component of the Fellowship is to enhance the Fellows’ governance capacity in order to effectively implement key CPA protocols.
Running concurrently with the Fellows’ auditing of courses and workshops, the Buffett Center’s Sudan Series will bring in Sudan experts on topics relevant to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and governance capacity building. Following lectures, scholars will have the opportunity to meet privately with the Sudanese Fellows to engage in deeper discussions and offer advice. The Program of African Studies (PAS) will provide a venue within which the Fellows themselves will hold lectures for interested students.
Buffett Center Director, Hendrik Spruyt, emphasized that, “The Sudan Good Governance Fellowship Program is a striking example of what can be achieved at Northwestern because of its culture of interdisciplinary collaboration. This project draws on the strength of numerous Departments and Centers at the University, including the Kellogg School of Management, the School of Continuing Studies, and the Program of African Studies.”
The Fellows will then spend at least one week in Washington, DC, engaging with think tanks and organizations committed to peace building and good governance. The Fellows will also meet with members of Congress and policymakers interested in Sudan.
The final component of the Fellowship program entails the Fellows’ development of a written Action Plan, which they will implement upon return to Sudan. The goal behind the Action Plan is for the Fellows to think critically about the challenges in carrying out the peace agreement in the region and, using the skills they have developed over the course of the program, to devise solutions to those problems. A faculty working group will meet periodically to advise on the Action Plan’s development. The strategic advisor to the Three Areas Donors Steering Group in Sudan, which consists of European and North American donor countries, has expressed interest in receiving the Action Plan to determine support to its implementation upon the Fellows’ return.
The CPA is set to expire next year. A referendum will determine whether the South remains as part of the country or votes for separation. In many regions of the country, especially the South and the Three Areas, governance capacity building needs are great. By leveraging academic resources to strengthen governance, the Sudan Good Governance Fellowship is pushing forward the peace process in Sudan. This is a unique opportunity for Northwestern University.
William Kalema said, “There are so many people who have made this possible. Brian Hanson and Hendrik Spruyt of the Buffett Center have supported this project from the beginning, provided valuable guidance on so many substantive and administrative issues, and played an essential role in helping identify and connect people and programs across the university needed to build this program.” Kalema acknowledges the work of Sarah Fodor and Jennifer Lawrence, director and associate director, of the Office of Foundation Relations, who “went above and beyond in assisting in fundraising efforts and edited countless drafts of grant proposals.” He also credits Professor John Hagan, whose “passion and expertise on Sudan has guided the team.” Kalema further acknowledges “the invaluable assistance” of Ken Spear, the Acting Country Representative in Sudan at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID’s) Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), with whom he consulted extensively in designing this program.
While Fellows are at Northwestern, the Buffett Center will arrange public events for the Northwestern community to learn more about challenges on the ground in southern Sudan and the perspectives of these leaders.
We look forward to welcoming the Fellows in May.