The following is an open letter to the organizers of an African Trade Forum event, who have announced that Maowia Osman Khalid, Ambassador of Sudan to the US, will be on campus for a panel co-hosted by the Carlson School of Management.

Dear organizers and sponsors of “Words change Worlds” and of the African Trade Forum:

As scholars of genocide and human rights at the University of Minnesota, we are gravely concerned by the participation of the Ambassador of Sudan to the United States, Maowia Osman Khalid, at the 2017 luncheon of Books for Africa (“Words change Worlds”) and the “African Trade Forum” on Thursday, May 18th, 2017, in which you are involved as a co-organizer or co-sponsor.

Ambassador Khalid will be representing Sudan’s President Omar-al-Bashir, against whom the International Criminal Court has taken action. On March 4, 2009, the Court issued an arrest warrant against President al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. On July 12, 2010, the Court also filed charges against President al-Bashir for the crime of genocide.

The United States is not neutral to these events. On July 22, 2004, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions recognizing the mass violence in the Darfur region of Sudan as genocide, and on December 31, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act.

In light of these facts, your involvement in organizing or sponsoring an event in which the Ambassador of Sudan participates is, in our judgment, highly problematic. We ask that you reconsider your involvement and draw the appropriate consequences.

Yours sincerely,
Alejandro Baer
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Stephen C. Feinstein Chair & Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota
Joachim Savelsberg
Professor of Sociology and Law
Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair
University of Minnesota

Barbara Frey
Director, Human Rights Program
University of Minnesota
Screenshot of the invitation from the Books for Africa organization.