World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010

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Sudan: Questions of Post-conflict, Peace and Democratic Transformation (256) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: WED 21, 5.00-7.00 pm

· NOT_DEFINED institution: University of Vienna (Austria)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Thomas Schmidinger

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was concluded in 2005 between the Sudan Peoples´ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan, the armed conflict in the South of Sudan has the potential for a peaceful solution and a democratic transformation of Sudan. Other armed conflicts, like the conflict in Darfur, were not addressed in the CPA and still the outcome of the peace process in the South is uncertain. According to the CPA in early 2010 elections and in 2011 a referendum about the independence of South-Sudan should take place. In this critical period for Sudan it is of extreme importance to reflect the challenges and potentials of the peace process and the democratic transformation in Sudan. This panel has the aim to discuss these questions. Is is open for other papers on Sudan.

Chair: Thomas Schmidinger (University of Vienna)

Paper presenter: Abdel Salam Sidahmed (University of Windsor, Canada),” Challenges to Democratic Transformation in the post-CPA Sudan”
Throughout the evolution of post-independent politics in the Sudan the country experimented with parliamentary democracy as a system of government for three times: 1954-58; 1964-69; and 1985-89. These democratic episodes however were repeatedly overthrown by longer-lasting authoritarian military regimes, the last one of which has been the current regime of President Omar al-Bashir that assumed power in June 1989. This paper departs from the assumption that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was concluded in 2005 between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples? Liberation Movement (SPLM), has the potential of placing Sudan on the path of peace and democratic transformation. The paper then goes on to explore those CPA provisions which are relevant to the democratization process, and give a brief overview of the main political parties and assess their commitment to the cause of democratization. The paper’s main conclusion is that despite the promises of democratic transformation generated by the CPA, there are insurmountable challenges associated with the nature of the CPA process and the pattern of its implementation, as well as the performance of the main political parties in both government and opposition. The paper ends by exploring the potential options for the country’s governance in view of the prospective self-determination referendum for the southern region in 2011.

Paper presenter: Margret Otto (Open University Hagen, Germany), “Concepts of Peace in a Post-Conflict Period: Reflections and Expectations of Sudanese Citizens in 2009”
This paper is part of an ongoing research project that looks into the individual understanding of peace amongst people in post-conflict periods. There are various political standpoints on how to conceptualize peace when war comes to an end. Given their political weight Western states often intervene in Non-Western countries after a civil war or a conflict with projects of state building, elections, economic restructuring and so forth. This research, however, looks at the potentials and priorities of people in a country passing through a post-conflict stage. Individual conceptions of peace seem to be linked to personal experiences and expectations and to a more general historical and cultural framework of each society. Peace in this understanding is both an individual as well as a universal concept. This paper focuses on the post-conflict period in Sudan after the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 as case-study. It looks at the personal understanding of peace of Sudanese citizens through interviews conducted in Sudan in March 2008 and March 2009. The theoretical framework of this research adopts the approach of Johan Galtung, who founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959 (the first peace research institute worldwide). He developed an extensive concept of peace in which the non-violent transformation of conflicts is the core issue. Thus, the fundamental objective is to create new realities in the thinking and behaviour of the people and with this society as a whole would be moving toward transformation. The research is also influenced by the thinking of the German peace researcher Dieter Senghaas, who looks at peace as a project of civilization. This model claims to be universal. The idea that the peaceful development of a society and its politics is linked to specific components, which are global and therefore universal, can offer a path into a deeper understanding of concepts of peace in a case like the Sudanese one.

Paper presenter: Mey Eltayeb Ahmed (University of Khartoum, Sudan), “Does the CPA guarantee sustainable peace in Sudan?”
This paper aims to explore the challenges that faced the peace agreement and tries to answer an important question: does the peace agreement guarantee a sustainable peace in Sudan? The prolonged civil war in: the South, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan have been stopped by several peace agreements. The presentation investigates the different peace agreements since 1970s, with focusing on Sudanese experience with Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA, Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement ESPA and ongoing peace negotiating in Darfur DPA. The paper argues to understand the conflict causes and escalations firstly; secondly the lessons learned form Addis Ababa peace agreement 1972 that was missed to be understood deeply. Then the ways to accommodate the disputed groups´ interest’s and to and develop an appropriate conflict management system and change the negative interaction between the national and traditional management systems. However, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) reflects several weaknesses, strengthens and challenges, especially the conflict resolutions and conflict transformation approaches have various mechanisms should be considered. Ultimately, building sustainable peace and development require participations of all stakeholders, transparency and joint goals to cope over the bumps on the peace road that are faced recently and in future. Ultimately crucial conclusion and recommendation shed light on important steps for sustainable conflict management and development in Sudan.

Paper presenter: Sahar Eltayeb Elgali (University of Windsor, Canada), “The Role of NGOs in Peace Building and the Challenges Facing their Work”
This paper will examine the role of Sudanese NGOs in peace building and rehabilitation, and to what extent they manage to fulfil their mandate. The paper will also enquire into the nature of the NGO’s work [within the peace building framework] and whether it is educational, developmental, or concerned with advocacy and capacity building. The paper, furthermore, will try to look into the challenges facing NGOs in carrying out their activities, and the nature of these challenges: political, resource-related [funding], or social. More specifically, the paper will try to address questions such as the relationship between these organizations and the government [cooperative, confrontational or indifferent]; what are the main sources of their funding; and most importantly what are their main achievements in terms of peace building, democratic transformation and/or development.