What is the What of South Sudan?

April 18, 2018 // 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Lecture begins at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets: $5 Student/Senior, $10 Regular; Available here. Tickets can also be purchased in the Action Center during normal business hours: Monday through Friday, 11 - 5 p.m. All tickets purchased in person do not include additional fees.

Dave Eggers’ 2006 novel, “What Is the What,” is a gripping view into the complexities of South Sudan, based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng. Currently chairperson and co-founder of VAD Foundation, Deng joins Steve Zodrow, Mercy Corps senior program officer for East and South Africa, in a discussion about the threat of famine and the future of South Sudan after years of civil war. Moderated by World Oregon board member and retired Ambassador, State Department, Mary Carlin Yates. Co-sponsored by World Oregon.

About the Speaker

Valentino Achak Deng is an advocate for the right to universal education and sustainable development. Valentino grew up in Southern Sudan where he was separated from his family during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). He then lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya for nine years where he received his education and began his public service career. In 2001 he resettled to Atlanta and has since toured the US and Europe speaking about his life in Sudan, his experience as a refugee, and his collaboration with author Dave Eggers on “What Is the What”, the novelized version of Deng’s life story. In 2006, Deng and Eggers established the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation to help rebuild Sudanese communities by increasing access to educational opportunities. The foundation’s focus is on quality education, vocational training, sustainable development, and girls’ education. Despite Deng’s hardships, he maintains an unwavering, positive outlook on South Sudan and believes the solution lies in increased education and knowledge of human rights and improved economic opportunities.

Steve Zodrow is a Senior Program Officer for Mercy Corps. Based in Portland, Steve provides grant and program support for all of Mercy Corps’ U.S. - funded programs in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Steve holds multiple agricultural degrees and has over 25 years of International Non-Government Organization experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America with focus on program management and agricultural technical support. After living abroad for 15 or so years, he is enjoying being with Mercy Corps in Portland for the last nine years.