May 2, 2006 Francis Deng Discusses Lessons from Sudan May 11

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Francis Deng, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress’ John W. Kluge Center, presents “African Dilemmas of Self-Determination: Lessons from Sudan,” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, which is sponsored by the Kluge Center, is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

Deng believes Sudan has just embarked on an experiment that challenges the fundamental norms of the Organization of African Unity and its successor, the African Union. Although the preservation of borders inherited from the colonial powers has been a sacrosanct principle for the continent, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement concluded last year by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army gives people of Southern Sudan the right to decide, after a six-year period, whether to remain in a united Sudan or to secede. The agreement, however, stipulates that efforts will be exerted during the interim to promote unity.

Is Sudan setting a precedent that threatens the fundamental norms of the African Union? Is separatism an end in itself or a reaction to fundamental inequities and indignities? Can these wrongs be corrected to make unity acceptable? What is required to make that possible? Deng plans to answer these questions in his presentation.

Equally known as a diplomat and a scholar, Deng has held a number of senior posts in the Sudanese Foreign Service, including minister of state for foreign affairs, andhas served as the Sudanese ambassador to the United States, Canada and Scandinavia. In 1992, United Nations Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali named Deng as his representative on internally displaced persons, those who have lost their homes because of civil wars worldwide, and Deng continues to act in this capacity for current Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Deng is professor of international law, politics and society and director of the Center for Displacement Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He has held visiting academic appointments at Yale University and New York University and has been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize scholarly discussion, distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center, visit


PR 06-103
ISSN 0731-3527