By Kidiocus Carroll
Beloit College has the distinction of having African human rights activists Mohamed Yahya and Michel Chikwanine on campus. Mohamed and Michel are activists who are tireless in their fight to inform audiences of the struggles in the pan-African region.
Mohamed Yahya is a refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan. As a person coming of age in Sudan, he bore witness to the racism, brutality and crimes that were being committed by the government. As an exiled student, he and other exiled students began to speak out, forming the Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile, of which he served as chairman and spokesperson. Yahya has also worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to sponsor over 20,000 Sudanese refugees. He sought political asylum in the U.S in 2002, where he has continued his tireless efforts as an activist fighting for social justice reform.
There will be a series of smaller events with Mr. Yahya. There first will be a discussion on his life as a black Muslim in America: this will occur in Richardson Auditorium at 6 p.m. on March 22. The second will be the main event with Michel Chikwanine, at 7 p.m. in the Science Center atrium on March 23. The third event will be a presentation in which he discusses the role that religious devotion plays in his social justice work, which will occur on March 24 at 6 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium.
A former child soldier, Michel Chikwanine, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Michel grew up during the Great War of Africa and witnessed horrific brutalities committed his own family, as well as others. Michel was forced to become a refugee at the age of 11 after the harrowing brutality that he encountered as a child. Michel is now a renowned speaker and has spoken to audiences across the North American continent. Michel has shared the stage with the likes of Dr. Jane Goodall, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mia Farrow, former Prime Minister Paul Martin and the founders of Free the Children. Michel also had the distinction of being a speaker on Oprah’s O Ambassadors Roots of Action speaking tour, during which he reached out to students from resource poor schools.
This is a truly collaborative event, sponsored by Programming Board, the Arabic Language Association, Interfaith Club, Residential Life, International Relations, Political Science, Model United Nations, Black Students United, Ballroom Club, Beloit Student congress, as well as contributions from RA Eric Frenkil.