Students raise awareness about ongoing war in Northern Uganda

A nonprofit advocacy group director spoke to GW students Tuesday about a war not often covered by the Western news media – a war that has been raging in Northern Uganda for the last 20 years.

Michael Poffenberger studied in Uganda while attending University of Notre Dame and established Resolve Uganda to bridge the gap between grassroots efforts and national political advocacy to end the war. He is now Resolve Uganda’s executive director and spoke about the conflict after screening “Uganda Rising,” a film that chronicles the conflict.

“We work to link the grassroots support that has been created by this film with efforts and advocacy on the Hill,” he said. “People don’t realize after they see the movie that they can really make a difference by just picking up the phone once a month for five minuets and calling their representative.”

GW’s chapter of War Child International hosted the event and is also working to raise awareness among students about the largely unfamiliar war.

“You need to be aware in order to be a better global citizen, and we are working to educate the GW students on this issue,” said Kathryn Nash, president of GW’s chapter of War Child International.

“Uganda Rising” details the story of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel force in the northern region of Uganda. LRA officials have been systematically abducting children and training them as LRA soldiers since the conflict began.

To date, more than 66,000 children have been abducted and more than 80 percent of the region’s population live in displaced persons camps as a result of the abductions.

Directed by Canadian filmmakers Jesse Miller and Pete McCormack, “Uganda Rising” has received numerous awards, including the Jury Award at the 2007 International Human Rights Film Festival.

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