Photo: Liv Tønnessen

By Liv Tønnessen, senior researcher at CMI, Khartoum, 17 January

Khartoum remains an island of peace amidst armed conflict in many corners of the country.  Not only is the Darfur conflict celebrating its 10th anniversary, but there are troubles lurking at the border between Sudan and Africa’s newest nation South Sudan. Despite that the war in South Sudan has consequences on an economy in despair; there is a feeling of relief here in Khartoum that at least this is a war for which they are not to blame.

The past two weeks I have had the privilege to lecture at the Regional Institute of Gender, Rights, Peace and diversity at Ahfad University for Women. The students have come from states that have been and/or are in conflict like Sudan (of course), South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda. To teach about topics such as sexual violence in conflict, human rights and women’s role in peacebuilding to such an audience is a huge learning experience, not only for the students but certainly also for the teacher. The abstract words have concrete meanings in the students’ personal experiences of war in their own countries.