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US-based Darfuri poet to walk from El Fasher to Khartoum

January 15 - 2018 EL FASHER
Emtithal Mahmoud at the Unamid radio studio (Setyo Budi/Unamid).
Emtithal Mahmoud at the Unamid radio studio (Setyo Budi/Unamid).

Sudanese-American poet and activist Emi Mahmoud intends to walk from El Fasher, capital of North Darfur to Khartoum, to draw attention to her Dreams of Peace project.

The young poet, born in El Fasher as Emtithal brahim Mahmoud, launched her Dreams of Peace in Sudan in August last year, by organising seminars where participants could express their visions for peace and sustainability.

The seminars were held in the Darfur camps for the displaced, other areas in the Sudan’s conflict-torn western region, and at various universities in Sudan.

Mahmoud launched the Dreams of Peace project “to bring people together in a peace project by looking at the aspirations of the people of Darfur in particular and Sudan in general to realise peace and how to sustain it,” she told Al

The poet now intends to cross a distance of almost 1,300 km on foot to mobilise public and popular support locally and globally, 

She plans to set off her journey on January 31, and to reach Khartoum on March 3 via El Obeid in North Kordofan and Kosti in White Nile state. She will be accompanied by a group of young people she met during the seminars in Darfur and the universities.


Mahmoud’s family escaped North Darfur to Yemen when she was a toddler, before migrating to the USA in 1998.

Her life and poetry have been shaped by the ongoing conflict in Darfur. She discovered at a young age that poetry allowed her to articulate her experiences. In October 2015, she won the Individual World Poetry Slam award in Washington DC.

After graduating from Yale University, Mahmoud said she has made it her mission to “put people back in front of the numbers”, referring to the dehumanisation of people fleeing conflict all over the world.

“The interesting thing about war, is that people seem to think there’s a particular start and end to the war, but in reality it’s much messier than that,” she told Public Radio International in February 2016. “When Darfur was no longer on the front page of the New York Times every day, when people stopped talking about it in the big media outlets, people thought, ‘Oh, the war must have stopped.’ But the reality is, we’re still living it every day.”

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