'Southern Sudan's Transition' kicks off 2011 lecture series

  • Friday, April 15, 2011

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (April 14, 2011) - The International Development Programs office at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore kicks off its 2011 International Development Lecture Series on Wednesday, April 27. It will start at 11 a.m. in the Allen J. Singleton multi-purpose room located in the Student Services Center.

    The Lecture Series is an outcome of President Thelma B. Thompson's vision for enhancing international education at UMES.

    John Marks, whose international relief and development career spans more than 30 years, will be the inaugural lecturer. His topic: "Southern Sudan's Transition from Civil War to Independence: Contributions of USAID Programs and UMES/USDA Staff."

    Marks, a UMES staff member, has been a Senior Sudan Advisor for more than 16 years. He works under an agreement with the federal Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is assigned to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In that role, he participated in efforts that resulted in a peaceful referendum held in Sudan earlier this year, according to Dr. Emmanuel T. Acquah, executive director of UMES' International Development Programs.

    "A new country is about to come into existence in Africa," Acquah said. "The (2005) Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended Africa's longest-running civil war. UMES/USDA-USAID staff has been working in war torn, Southern Sudan since 2000, on food security, disaster relief, agricultural improvement and most recently, to bring about a peaceful referendum and to come up with solutions to the problems facing the soon to be, new country."

    Marks earned a bachelor's degree in literature from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1968. After graduation, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Somalia. Since then, Marks has worked for non-government organizations in eastern and southern Africa and the Caucasus region where Europe and Asia meet.

    A majority of Marks' career has been spent in Somalia and Sudan, where as a senior advisor, he has been working on conflict mitigation and strategic alignment of new programs. 

    "In this time of civil conflict in many countries, we think this is an opportunity for everyone to gain a better understanding of some of the dynamics of international affairs, and some of the work that UMES/USDA-USAID staff is doing in other countries," Acquah said.

    "We feel that this is a rare opportunity for the community to learn about the problems that exist, and some of the solutions needed, to move toward a peaceful resolution in a rapidly changing world," he said.

    Call 410-651-6503 for more information about the upcoming lecture or the International Development Lecture Series, or e-mail international@umes.edu.

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    Candice Latshaw, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-6669, celatshaw@umes.edu.