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Members pledge for peace

Megan Doyle | Thursday, October 7, 2010

Student Senate pledged official support for peace efforts in the face of possible civil war between the northern and southern parts of Sudan at its meeting Wednesday.

The northern and southern parts of Sudan have been in conflict for more than 50 years. In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement formally ended civil war and scheduled a referendum for Jan. 9, 2011. The citizens of Southern Sudan will then vote for or against secession from the country.

Social concerns chair Patrick McCormick presented a resolution to Senate to officially support all sustainable efforts for Sudanese peace. The resolution passed unanimously.

“We are trying to encourage students to act on this,” McCormick said. “We hope that we can put pressure on those who have the opportunity to shape policy in the United States so they pay attention to the Sudan.”

The purpose of the resolution was to officially engage the support of the Notre Dame student body to work with this issue, he said.

“We need to continue spotlighting the issue,” McCormick said. “We need to recognize that this is not just another conflict, but one that could define our generation.”

The resolution comes after a delegation from the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference visited the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies Tuesday. They presented on the urgency of the crisis in their home country.

After their visit to Notre Dame, the delegation will proceed to Washington, D.C., and New York City to meet with government officials and the United Nations.

McCormick said University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh envisioned Notre Dame as both a crossroads and a lighthouse.

“The fact that a conference of Catholic bishops from Sudan would come to Notre Dame is indicative of that crossroads,” McCormick said. “And right now we have an opportunity to be the lighthouse.”

More information is available at http://peaceinsudan.crs.org or through the Center for Social Concerns.