Banaa Program Update-Summer 2013

The Banaa Scholarship Program is pleased to announce the admittance of new scholars to George Washington University and the University of Rochester for the upcoming school year! Banaa provides outstanding Sudanese and South Sudanese survivors of atrocity committed to peace-building with full scholarships at universities in the United States. Upon the completion of their degree, Banaa scholars are expected to return to Sudan and South Sudan with the skills necessary to peacefully address the complexities of the war-torn region. Last year, the first Banaa scholar, Makwei Mabioor Deng, graduated from GW with a degree in Philosophy and Economics. Jamie, Makwei, RyanHe returned to South Sudan last August, and has since been working as the Country Fellow for the IGC, an economic and academic think tank, conducting research and policy analysis for the government of South Sudan. Jacob Mator Aketch was selected to be GW’s second Banaa scholar as part of the class of 2017, and will begin studying engineering this fall. Ultimately, he hopes to leverage his education to work to develop infrastructure in Sudan when he returns to his home country. Mo and Sameer, the two Banaa scholars currently studying at the UofR in New York, will be entering their senior and junior years respectively.  This fall they will be joined by incoming freshman Salva Kuac Barjok, whose commitment to education despite adversity and his devotion to promoting the freedom of expression, good governance, and economic growth as a newspaper contributor make him an ideal Banaa scholarship candidate.

Banaa is based at The George Washington University and, since its founding in 2005, has been facilitated by GW students. At the heart of Banaa is the idea that students and young people are able to use university resources to create peaceful change. While host universities commit to providing tuition, room, and board for the scholars they admit, Banaa is responsible for fund-raising to cover the cost of countless other aspects of the program, including a living stipend for the scholar, travel expenses, and other costs. Banaa also welcomes in-kind donations for items useful to scholars, such as winter coats, laptops, and cell phones.

The student members of Banaa ran the first ever Banaa Summer Summit, hosted at GW last summer, which is to become an annual event. For the Summit, Banaa partnered with DC NGOs including The United States Institute for Peace, The National Democratic Institute, and The ENOUGH Project, to provide scholars with several days of

Banaa Scholars and Staff after a workshop during the 2012 Summer Summit

Banaa Scholars and Staff after a workshop during the 2012 Summer Summit

workshops centering around peace-building and conflict resolution skills. Scholars also honed public speaking skills during the Summit, working with professional facilitators to develop their incredibly powerful stories of self as tools for peace-building. This year, the Summer Summit is scheduled to take place at GW from August 8th-12th. We are so excited to meet the two new Banaa scholars and start a new school year! For more information on any aspect of the Banaa program, including the Summit, the application process and existing scholars, and fundraising or donating to Banaa, please explore our website or email


Jamie Fisher-Hertz

Banaa Staff

George Washington University Class of 2014

**There are many ways to get involved with Banaa! We’ve even made a list of suggestions for you! Also, be sure to Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog!

**A version of this article was first published in the George Washington University’s Philosophy Department’s Spring 2013 Newsletter

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