Rudwan Dawod has been the facilitator for reconciliation and humanitarian projects with Sudan Sunrise since 2009, and is the project director for a reconciliation project in which Muslims from Sudan, South Sudan and the United States are rebuilding a Catholic Cathedral in Torit, South Sudan. In late May, he left his home in Oregon to travel to South Sudan to direct this interfaith reconciliation project. During his trip, Mr. Dawod visited family in Sudan, and renewed his passport. Concerned for the future of his country, and dedicated to peace and democracy, he attended a peaceful demonstration on July 3rd to protest the Sudanese government’s recent austerity policies, and ongoing violence in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur. Subsequently, Dawod was arrested, tortured, charged with terrorism, and detained in prison for 44 days. With the help of the advocacy community, the U.S. government, and the media, he was eventually acquitted and released. 

In this discussion, Dawod not only spoke of his involvement in the protest and ensuing ordeal, but also of how he believed real democratization in Sudan is still possible. In his mind, although “violence is everywhere” in Sudanese culture, he believes that “to bring change to Sudan, to have democracy, to have freedom…all of the good things [that come with democratization] can still happen in the peaceful way.”