BY CHRIS KERR | January 8, 2014
After 20 years of a brutal civil war South Sudan become the world’s youngest country in 2011. It appeared that the situation was stabilizing for those who endured such violence. However, this December violence again broke out and now at least 1,000 people have been killed by conflict and over 200,000 have been forced from their homes by fighting.
Gabriel Bol Deng is the Founder and Executive Director of HOPE for Ariang Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing South Sudanese children with inclusive access to education, opportunities, and resources, with a special focus on women and girls.
As a 10-year old boy Gabriel escaped a violent attack by North Sudanese militamen and embarked on a four-month long journey crossing the Nile River and untold miles of desert; surviving disease, and devastating hunger to reach the Dimma Refugee Camp in Ethiopi. In 2001, Gabriel came to the United States as a part of a refugee resettlement program. He is a graduate of Le Moyne College a Jesuit university in upstate New York.
Gabriel offers perspectives on the reality of South Sudan and invites the international community to support an end to the fighting that will lead to peace for the fledgling South Sudan.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.