Saving South Sudan + Are We There Yet #WeAreHome

Monday, October 10
11:30AM - 12:30PM
Austin Convention Center Room 1



Robert Pelton
Come Back Alive - Founder


Saving South Sudan
South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup d'état amid accusations of rampant corruption within the government. Fighting broke out within the presidential guard, sparking what has now become a brutal tribal and civil war that has pitted Machar's ethnic Nuer loyalists against the majority Dinka, who have sided with Kiir. Machar narrowly escaped assassination, fleeing to the deep bush as Kiir's troops razed his home and killed his bodyguards.
The world's newest sovereign nation was in imminent danger of becoming a failed state.
Journalists and filmmakers Robert Young Pelton and Tim Freccia set out on a dangerous mission to locate Riek Machar in his secret hideout in the bush and get his side of the story. Accompanying them was Machot Lat Thiep, a former child soldier and Lost Boy who had advised on South Sudan's constitution and works as a manager of a Costco in Seattle.

Are We There Yet #WeAreHome:
Celine Semaan Vernon, a Lebanese refugee in the 80's, set out the document the work that her partnership with humanitarian organization ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is accomplishing through the ANERA's education initiative in Lebanon. 90% of Syrian youth in Lebanon are out of school, some have lost family members along with everything they own. Education is not a luxury, it is a way to inspire and empower these young people to finding ways to support themselves and their families. While we see refugees in the media deprived of everything as well as their dignity, this short documentary portrays the people with respect and dignity, and shines a light on humanity's ability to adapt and to overcome.

Event Type:
policy human rights

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