Over the past four years, I have had the privilege of joining a network of anti-genocide advocates from across the nation with the collective mandate of making fighting genocide a cornerstone of Canadian foreign policy. I am now able to reflect in awe upon an organization comprised solely of volunteers who are able to mobilize youth, citizens and Canadian decision makers to join our efforts. To be granted the opportunity to lead such an organization this forthcoming year is a humbling experience that I am proud to take on.
I was introduced to STAND as a grade 11 student when a presenter came to my school and informed my peers and I of the situation in Darfur. The profound impact of that one presentation ignited a hunger for knowledge which snowballed into the desire to advocate on behalf of modern genocide prevention. STAND’s mission entails narrowing the gap between the will to act and actually creating a positive impact in genocide prevention. Through starting off as a passionate student fighting for change myself, STAND made it easy by providing the tools I required to make a difference.
On July 9th 2011, the world witnessed the birth of the new South Sudan nation, yet the accompanying tensions have been escalating from the beginning of this summer. In this past week, the conflict has spread even further to the Bile Nile state. The discovery of eight mass graves dug up in the Nuba Mountains region since June reveals the consequences of inaction in a time of need. We must continue to condemn the military actions of the Sudanese government and call for an immediate cessation of attacks on civilians. The urgency to act proves more dire through each passing day.
While this year marks many challenges for the two Sudans, it also provides grand opportunity for STAND. Through the usage of our campaigns and simple tools, STAND will continue to fight for peace in both Sudans. STAND strives to motivate Canada to become a world leader in the prevention of future instances of genocide, not only in the Sudans, but also by providing a framework for preventative measures moving forward.
Thank you for your continued support in taking a stand against genocide.
Monica Chakravarty is the new Principal Director of STAND Canada.