By Julienne Lauler
Upon my supervisor’s request, I attended an event last week at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) here in Washington, D.C.; it was the launch of a report titled “Local Justice in Southern Sudan”, documenting the local judicial systems in southern Sudan ahead of January’s referendum for southern secession. Glancing at the title (and length) of the report, I anticipated a tedious and bore-inducing presentation, and filled my coffee cup to the brim in preparation for the hours ahead. I took a seat in the front row, because presumably falling asleep would be difficult if the speakers were in close proximity.
Upon sitting down, however, the event became tremendously more exciting, and my fears of falling asleep mid-discussion were nulled. The reason for this sudden change of heart? Occupying the seat next to me was none other than Dr. Akec Khoc Acieu, the Sudanese ambassador to the United States.