Nicholas Kristoff acknowledges Valentino and the important work at VADF.

Please see the New York Times article on December 15, 2018 here.

When I flew into Riyadh airport in Saudi Arabia recently, I wondered how I would be received. I was a friend of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and I had described Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “Mad Prince” whose initials could stand for “Mr. Bone Saw.”

In the end, Saudi officials greeted me professionally and respectfully, and I sensed considerable support for the social and economic change that the crown prince is bringing to the country. But the country also felt more oppressive — Saudis were more fearful of speaking frankly with me than they used to be — and there was also an aggrieved nationalism in the air. I find President Trump’s Saudi policy an incoherent failure. Here’s what I found in Saudi Arabia and why I think we should take a much tougher position toward Saudi Arabia and the Mad Prince.

One important global trend: China’s economy is in trouble. Chinese economic statistics are often made up, so it’s hard to know how badly it’s faltering, but factory workers in the south are already being let off for the Chinese new year holiday. This slowdown will also ripple through the global economy, particularly because Europe is also slowing. And while this should make Xi Jinping more inclined to settle trade disputes, it may also make him ready to find some security crisis as a distraction from economic woes.

On Dec. 15, it will be five years since war broke out in South Sudan, killing some 400,000 people. Today a girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in childbirth than to graduate from high school. We need more international attention to try to bring peace and economic development to South Sudan. I’m a fan of people like Valentino Deng (hero of “What is the What”) who have tried to bring schools to that country.

Now here’s my column from Saudi Arabia. And, MBS, if you’re reading this, here’s a tip: You want to show you’re a reformer, then release the women’s rights activists who are being tortured in your prisons. Here’s my take.

Nicholas Kristof highlights the VAD Foundation in his short list of charity recommendations. Forget The Tie. Give A Gift That Matters.

Source: NY Times, Nicholas Kristof, "Forget the Tie. Give a Gift that Matters," December 1, 2016

Read the full article here

....Sure, you can buy your uncle a necktie that he won’t wear, or your niece an Amazon certificate that she’ll forget to use. Or you can help remove shrapnel from an injured child in Syria, or assist students at risk of genocide in South Sudan. The major aid organizations have special catalogs this time of year: You can buy an alpaca for a family for $150 at Heifer International, help educate a girl for $75 at Save the Children or help extend a much­admired microsavings program for $25 at Care. But this year my annual holiday gift list is special. I’ve tied some items to the election of Donald Trump, and I’ve looked for organizations that you may not have heard of....

...I’ve reported on crimes against humanity unfolding in South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, and now the United Nations is warning of the risk of full­blown genocide. In this impossible situation, a South Sudanborn American named Valentino Deng is running a high school, one of few still functioning. It needs support so students can get an education and build their country. You may remember Valentino: He’s the “lost boy” at the center of Dave Eggers’s best­selling book “What Is the What.” What he has done since, in founding this school, is even more impressive. 

Read the full article here

World Affairs Council Blog Guest | Educating Youth and Curbing Hate Speech Can Pave the Way to Peace in South Sudan by Valentino Deng

This piece is by Valentino Achak Deng, Co-founder, Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. The views expressed are those of the author and are not intended to represent those of World Affairs. Deng will speak at World Affairs on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation. Tragically, the euphoria of liberation following our independence in 2011 was soon undermined by deep-seated political, ethnic and geographical tensions. For the past three years, this power struggle has played out as a full-scale civil war in the country, leaving citizens worse off than they were a decade ago.

Read the full blog here on the World Affairs Council's blog. 

Valentino Speaks at the World Affairs Council

Dave Eggers and Valentino Deng in-conversation at the World Affairs Council of Northern California on September 28. 2016. 

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation. Tragically, the euphoria of liberation following its independence in 2011 was soon undermined by deep-seated political, ethnic and geographical tensions. For the past 3 years, this power struggle has played out as a full-scale civil war in the country. Over 2 million South Sudanese are internally displaced, and over half of its 11 million population is facing famine.

This discussion reflects on important questions facing South Sudan 5 years after gaining its independence. Is there hope for peace and stability in South Sudan? What role will the international community play in bridging ethnic tensions in the country? What is the future for the UN South Sudanese peacekeeping mission that is opposed by the very government it aims to support? Can the UN impose peace on a reluctant nation? What is the role of youth and the diaspora in paving the way to sustainable peace?

Listen to the podcast here: South Sudan -- Five Years Later