Civilians from South Kordofan in Yida refugee camp. Photo by UNHCR

On Sunday, my colleague Dan Sullivan and I will leave for a two week trip to Ethiopia and South Sudan. After researching and advocating on Sudan and South Sudan for more than two years, I am very excited to have the opportunity to finally travel to the region.

I am looking forward to this experience and I hope that our trip will help draw public attention to the ongoing atrocities that the people of Sudan and South Sudan are forced to endure.

We will be attending a short workshop on the outskirts of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa and then traveling to Juba, South Sudan to learn more about ongoing fighting in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.

We hope to travel to Yida refugee camp on the border of Sudan where more than 20,000 civilians from South Kordofan have fled to hear more about their experiences and find out what we here in the United States can do to help.

We also hope to meet with Carl Wilkens Fellows, Cynthia Davis and Cory McMahon, who will be visiting South Sudan in support of Gabriel Bol Deng’s Hope for Ariang Foundation.

To get updates from our trip check the blog. Also, don’t forget to follow us on twitter via @Shannon_O and @EndGenocideDan.

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  • Martha

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Dan. Thank you for making this trip to raise awareness. Thank you for caring for these precious people.

  • http://www.csudh.edu/oliver/oliver.htm Oliver

    The violence in South Sudan has been covered by France 24, BBC World News and Al Jazeera which are all available on various portable communications devices. It sadly has not received a lot of coverage by the commercial news media in the U.S.

    Take care of yourselves, Shannon and Dan.

  • http://Artbyjanel.com Janel Eleftherakis

    Dear Shannon,
    As a mom of two beautiful yet privileged teenagers I applaud you and Dan for raising the awareness of my children, teaching them the true meaning of ‘There but before the grace of God go I…’
    Janel Eleftherakis

  • Christina Bell

    Wishing you both the best on your journey. I will keep up with the updates on the blog. Thank you for being so brave. People like you and Dan make the world a better place.

  • Alissa Ralston

    Safe Travels.

  • Christopher Beloff

    I pray for your strength and safe return.

  • Michael Kaplan

    It’s so easy for me to go about my daily blessed life in sunny Los Angeles. Your actions really make a difference and set up real questions for me as to why we’re all here.

    Thank you,

    Michael Kaplan

  • Christiane Rousseau

    Thank you for your dedication to bring awareness to those who are not. Keep safe <3 <3 <3
    Peace and love Christiane (mj lover)

  • Samah Khan

    You guys inspire me even more to continue my education in order to go to Sudan one day and help them as well. I admire your courage and thoughtfulness. Be safe

  • Ida Pearl

    We have enough issues in this country to resolve before we start sticking our noses into other countries. I find it difficult to believe that some folks out there refuse to see that.

    I refuse to support or further address events in Sudan until we have our own country back on track.

  • Karola

    Thank you Shannon and Dan for doing this vital work. Safe travels.

  • delayne

    YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THIS FIRST. BEST YOU STAY HOME AND CONCENTRATE ON THE POOR AND STARVING RIGHT HERE IN YOUR BACK YARD. CHANCE FAVORS THE PREPARED MIND.

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
    Bureau of Consular Affairs
    Republic of South Sudan

    December 22, 2011

    The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to the Republic of South Sudan and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country. This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 12, 2011, updates information on security incidents, and reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in the Republic of South Sudan.

    The Republic of South Sudan separated from Sudan and became an independent nation on July 9, 2011. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to South Sudan and strongly recommends that you avoid all travel to the states in the border region between Sudan and South Sudan (Upper Nile, Unity, and Western Bar el Ghazai states in South Sudan; Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan; and the Abyei Special Administrative District). In recent months, skirmishes have broken out between forces loyal to the Government of Sudan and forces loyal to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in this region, and there has been a build-up of military forces along both sides of the border. In addition to fighting on the ground, the Sudanese air force has bombed areas in the Unity and Upper Nile states.

    You should exercise extreme caution in all areas of South Sudan. In addition to the fighting in the border region, there are at least seven different rebel militia forces that frequently engage in violent clashes with SPLA forces in various areas of South Sudan; these clashes can flare up with little warning.

    The Government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers outside of the capital city of Juba.

    The risk of violent crime is high in Juba. The U.S. Embassy in Juba has imposed a curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. to better ensure the safety of its personnel. In addition to the curfew, the Embassy has implemented other measures to protect U.S. government personnel living and working in South Sudan. These include requiring personnel to travel in armored government vehicles at all times at night, and to obtain advance permission for any travel outside of Juba. Due to security concerns, spouses and family members of U.S. government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan.

    If you are currently working on humanitarian relief or development efforts in Juba, or anywhere in South Sudan, you should take prudent measures to reduce your exposure to violent crime, and should closely follow the security policies and procedures of your organization.

    There are likely to be disruptions or long delays in services provided by the Government of South Sudan.

    The U.S. Embassy in Juba provides limited services to U.S. citizens living or traveling in South Sudan, such as accepting applications for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. Other routine consular services are available through the consular sections of U.S. embassies in neighboring countries, such as the U.S. embassies in Khartoum, Sudan, or Nairobi, Kenya. The ability of consular staff at these embassies to render assistance to U.S. citizens in South Sudan in the event of an emergency is limited.

    U.S. citizens can obtain global updates from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

    If you are going to live in or travel to South Sudan despite this Travel Warning, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for us to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address. U.S. citizens in South Sudan without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Juba by filling out and submitting a registration form.

    U.S. citizens in South Sudan can obtain the latest security information by contacting the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan (e-mail address: [email protected]), or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website. In the event of an emergency, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba by calling 249-900-90-5107 (Zain) or 256-477-459-820 (GEMTEL) and ask to speak to the Embassy Duty Officer.

  • Diana Oliveira

    Thank you for going. I understand that some people feel that there is enough going on in this country, and they’re right. Its sad to think that there are still children going to bed hungry at night in our own communities, but we have people here in the US who are trying to fight our own poverty, who speak up about the growing homeless population, about the amount of children who are being uneducated. But countries like Sudan, they have no one, not even their own government. Who drew the lines and created boundaries and borders? Man did. As far as I see it, the people of Sudan, the people of Africa, those are our brothers and sisters too, those are as much “our” people as my neighbor next door. If God placed it on your heart to be a voice for the voiceless, then by all means go! And share with the rest of the world what is exactly taking place over there. I think the U.S., I think we’re going to be OK. We’ll get through these hard economic times, and we’ll survive. I’m not trying to be insensitive when I say this, but for the most part, the hungry here in America, they can get food stamps, they can go to a food pantry, they can seek shelter at a homeless shelter, if more people played a more active role in speaking out to the government here in the U.S., I think a lot could change. . . but over there, you would be killed, starvation is the norm, there are no shelters, food pantries, no social services, no where to go for help. . . children die every day from the common flu, diarrhea, starvation. I’m not saying that injustices don’t take place here in the U.S., but at least we have a path to change. And my prayer is that we can help create that same path for the people of Sudan. Praying for you both. For safe travels. Its been my dream to go over there, to be able to hold the hands of the Sudanese and call them my brother, my sister, my friend, to tell them that they are not forgotten. May God bless you both! Please update us.

  • mary cauthen-tucker

    God is Omnipresent and His will is for all mankind… be strengthened by His love for them and you.
    You are doing His will no doubt.
    mary

  • j Mclure

    thanks for going – its sad that people of this new age are being beaten and killed for just being a human being – you send me the info and i will push and pressure my congressmen and US State department to do what is necessary to end this genocide – the worlds people deserve peace –

  • http://الحوارالمتمدن Kuku

    Thank you
    Shannon and Dan Sullivan
    My God bless you
    you are really doing what others cannot do
    You are going in the way which many fear to go through .
    You are Eyes and witness of those poor victims in Sudan
    In Nuba Mountain and blue Nile children women are long for waiting your journey
    You are the who will stop killing and murdering
    You are only the one who can Stop AlBAsheer regime In Khartoum from cleaning Nuba Mountain and blue Nile people from their home land by killing and running away fearing of death .

    My God bless Shannon and Dan Sullivan
    My God bless Journey to South Sudan
    My God bless Journey to Nuba Mountain and blue Nile
    My God bless Tom Andrews
    My God bless United to End Genocide
    My God bless every one who says Enough to genocide every where in the World >
    Amine @ Amine .

  • SIMBA

    This is good to go and see with yr eyes what is happenning.

  • Daniel mbugua

    All the best guys,looking forward to get an insight on the truth as on the ground,whle in Nairobi or any where nearby,feel free to meet for a cup of tea to freshen up guys!

  • Osman

    Please focus also on gendr based violence being committed currently associated with the current violence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000402813798 DJ Euphoria

    Dan and Shannon,

    Please be safe on your journey. The work your doing is important work. I’ll do my best to spread the word and make people aware of your mission. Please keep us posted.

    – DJ Euphoira

  • KOMEZUSENGE DEOGRATIAS

    It is very important to make action in order to save the life of the peoples living in bad condition. This is also good to go and see what is happening . My God bless Shannon and Dan Sullivan

    Komezusenge

  • http://forgottenstoriesfpi.wordpress.com/ ForgottenStoriesFPI

    This trip is commendable and courageous. In a time when journalism is turning more and more into entertainment, these stories would not be heard if not for efforts like this. The suffering of the Sudanese and the South Sudanese needs to be publicized like the suffering of people everywhere and anywhere. The fact that all is far from fine in our own country should not be used as an excuse to ignore what happens in the rest of the world. Caring for others has never hurt this country before, in fact what does more harm is our isolation and self-centeredness. Being a leader in the world means being a moral leader as well.
    @FStoriesFPI

  • KRYSTAL

    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR JOURNEY AND KEEP ME POSTED

  • MARWAN HASSAN

    Safe Jurney Dears AND THANKS FOR ATTAENTION

  • Coreen Kerr

    I wish Dan & Shannon a safe journey & that no harm comes 2 them. What a brave thing they are doing.
    Please take care!

  • Lorraine Peterson

    America has/is slowly learning that the first Genocide committed was on the Indigenous Indians here when America was being settled. No one wants to believe they or their relatives may have had a part in this Genocide. Then Germany’s Genocide of the Jewish people. One would hope that this horrible crime would not be happening today but is. The Genocide atrocities in Africa need to be known throughout the world and can use all the support they can get. I hope Dan and Shannon have a safe and successful visit awakening more people to this atrocity.

  • Catherine

    Have a great trip. I returned from my fifth visit to S. Sudan at the end of November. Just be cautious and travel smart – which I am sure you are prepared to do. To all of those concerned about safety, if Chicago is only about what we read in the paper, then nobody would ever go there or live there. Yes, it is very astute to know what you are doing and where you are going, as it should be with any travels. God’s peace.

  • Sabir

    Daniel, and Shannon, It was my pleasure to meet you and work together at the workshop in Addis, I am quite optimist that your trips will make a different. keep it up.

  • Anil Sanyal

    My dear Dan & Shannon,
    May God bless you for each and every good work you are doing for the sake of humanity.
    Anil Sanyal
    India

  • Jess

    both of you are truly an inspiration! I’m passionate about the crisis in South Sudan and I admire your efforts to assist. Please write as often as possible =)
    My thoughts and prayers are with you – God Bless !

  • DIJANA MUJAGIĆ

    Da je više takvih ljudi kao vi