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Building hope through theatre and education – a view from South Sudan

Warwick will shine a spotlight on the importance of education and the arts in the world’s newest democracy, South Sudan, during a public event to be held at Warwick Arts Centre on Bank Holiday Monday (7 May).

The South Sudan Theatre Company is visiting the University of Warwick, to meet with people interested either in South Sudan, the theatre or in both during workshops planned for 7 May. The visit has been arranged by the UK Charity, Friends of Ibba Girls School (FIGS), South Sudan, and the day involves staff from a number of Warwick departments including Warwick Business School, the Institute of Education and the School of Theatre and Performance Studies, with space provided by Warwick Arts Centre.

As part of the University’s commitment to developing links with sub-Saharan Africa, Professor Jean Hartley, who was a founding member of FIGS, wanted to demonstrate that when a country that has endured years of civil war finally starts to rebuild itself, the value of arts and education should not be underestimated in terms of its potential economic and community impact.

Professor Hartley explained: “Educating children in developing countries, especially girls, has a huge impact socially. Through schooling and introduction of arts – including music and theatre – there is a way of helping the emerging population to express themselves through culture.

“We would urge people to come and join us for a stimulating day thinking about and experiencing how education and theatre can support post-conflict reconstruction of this new nation (independence 9 July 2011) after 50 years of civil war and disruption.”

Background information:
Friends of Ibba Girls’ School is a UK charity which is dedicated to fund-raising in order to build and sustain a girls’ residential school in the county of Ibba for girls aged 10-18 years across Western Equatoria State. Education levels in South Sudan are low due to years of civil war and this school offers a once in a generation opportunity to make a practical difference to the education and life chances of girls, the majority of whom get no schooling beyond the age of 10. Read about the project on http://ibbaschool.org.uk , or contact Jean.Hartley@warwick.ac.uk if you would like to get involved with South Sudan Theatre Company

To interview Professor Jean Hartley, International Centre for Governance and Public Management, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, t: 07876 218014
For further information contact Kate Cox, Communications Manager on +44 (0)2476 574255/150483, m: +44(0)7920 531221 or kate.cox@warwick.ac.uk.