Dec. 5, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame community came together on Saturday to help raise awareness for peace in Sudan. The Fighting Irish men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse teams worked together with Notre Dame student government and a host of departments across the campus to sponsor the Playing for Peace 3v3 Basketball Tournament.
Ninety-six teams competed in the tournament, which began at 9:00 a.m. and concluded at 3:30 p.m. in the Joyce Center Field House on the Notre Dame campus. The co-ed tournament was played as in a single-elimination format until a champion was crowned.
The tournament took a break at noon for the main event of the day, the Stand With Sudan Peace Rally. The rally involved a unique collaboration of several different University offices; The Center for Social Concerns, Campus Ministry, The Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, Play Like A Champion and the Alliance for Catholic Education.
Both the tournament and rally were free of charge. The rally was open to the public and to all students, faculty and staff regardless of whether or not they are participating in the tournament. The mission of the event was to raise awareness about Sudan because on January 9, 2011, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the Government of Sudan in 2005 will expire.
For additional information, log onto playing4peace.nd.edu.
Irish men’s basketball head coach Mike Brey
Guest speakers at the peace rally included, former University of Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh, Notre Dame men’s basketball head coach Mike Brey, Irish men’s lacrosse head coach Kevin Corrigan, Ed Bona (the first African to play Division I basketball) and Joe Touomou (Cameroon native and former basketball captain at Georgetown University). The rally also featured special talks from University representatives Mike Hebbeler (The Center for Social Concerns,) Jerry Powers (The Kroc Institute), Emmanuel Gore (Notre Dame student from Southern Sudan) and Patrick McCormick (Notre Dame student government). There also were special videos from Catholic Relief Services and NBA star Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls.
Here are a selection of quotes from the speeches (in order of appearance) …
Mike Hebbeler: “As members of the Notre Dame community, we are called to create a sense of solidarity and concern for the common good. We rally today for the people of Sudan and to take a stand against injustice and oppression and to learn how we can further promote peace and security for all the people of Sudan, including those in the North and in the South, Muslims, Christians, Arabs and Africans.”
Kevin Corrigan: “It’s been a real privilege to see the collaboration amongst different groups on campus to see this happen. It does the body good to see this many students out on a Saturday morning for such a righteous cause.”
Jerry Powers: “The fact that the basketball and lacrosse teams sponsored this event and that they recruited adidas, which was probably the first time adidas has ever sponsored a peace rally, is a real testament as to how Notre Dame is different and special.”
Emmanuel Gore: “On behalf of my family that is still living in Sudan, I’d like to extend a heartfelt gratitude to all of you and for your dedication to our peace in Sudan. I consider myself one of the lucky few that I’m a part of this amazing Notre Dame family.”
Mike Brey: “It’s an honor for me and our players to be a part of this rally today. I’d like to introduce two gentlemen (Joe Touomou and Ed Bona) that played college basketball. They had a chance to come over from their respective countries to get an education and play college basketball.”
Joe Touomou: “This is great today. I would like to thank Notre Dame for putting this together. I think a lot of schools in the country need to follow this lead. I’m here as an African. I’m here to talk on behalf of the African youth. The youth of Africa need peace. They need peace because so many kids in Sudan, two generations, have missed great opportunities to get an education. We can’t allow that to happen again. For you guys to be here today it’s important because we need that kind of support. We need that support around the world. Your voices should be heard in Washington, D.C. and New York where the decisions are made. Unfortunately with all of the problems that Africa has today, whether it’s HIV and AIDS, unemployment or the lack of education, we cannot afford to have another war in Sudan. Sudan is such an important part of Africa. It’s the largest country in Africa and we can’t afford to have another war there.”
Ed Bona: “When I graduated from Fordham in 1983 I thought that now I have my degree I want to go back home and contribute to developing my country. In 1983 a war broke out in Sudan and that war went from 1983-2005. It cost 2.5 million lives and we lost generations. I was one of the fortunate ones because I happened to be in the United States at that time. People like Emmanuel (Gore) were caught in the middle of that war. All of my plans came to a halt because of that war.”
Luol Deng: “What’s up Irish nation. Thank you for coming out today. I know I could count on Notre Dame to show up today and take a stand for peace in Sudan. Your presence and your voice makes a difference. My people in Sudan appreciate your support. Thank you for your help to stop a war before it starts. Together we can make a stand and say `never again’ starts today.”
Patrick McCormick: “A special thanks to each of you here to take the time on a busy Saturday the week before final exams to come together to call the world’s attention to a land most of us have never seen with our own eyes or perhaps even known of at all before this rally. Some wondered whether anyone would show up this afternoon. Some wondered whether a rally on this scale for this issue was even possible on a college campus. Well today, they have their answer. Your commitment to this place, to this University, to this family is at the heart of what makes Notre Dame like no other school on Earth.”
Father Hesburgh: “May I first say that many things around here surprise me from time to time. I’ve been around here since 1934. It is a surprising place and the most surprising thing that never fails to inspire me is our student body. There are thousands of schools in this country with student bodies. You usually don’t hear about those student bodies unless something awful happens. But here at Notre Dame, I am continually surprised by the goodness and the dedication and the world vision of our student body. This student body over many years has been alert not just to the justice here in our neighborhood at Notre Dame, but justice all over the world.” “I think what you’re hearing about today is a country that long has been without justice that has seen million of its people starve and be killed. It’s been kind of a forgotten country in the vast land called Africa. It’s a beautiful country in a beautiful continent. For all of you here today, I hope sometime in your lifetime you can visit this wonderful continent.”
“You are here today because even though it’s a country far away and not heard of very often, it’s a country which has people who are suffering. Like people in many parts of the world, they are poor, they are hungry and they are dying. There is violence that threatens the lives of families. There are people who have to walk for five or six days just to find some food or water to drink. The world isn’t as nice and pleasant everywhere as it is here at Notre Dame, but I think the beauty of Notre Dame is that we’re going to reach out to places that don’t enjoy what we enjoy. They don’t have peace and there is a profound peace across this campus.”
“My heart swells with pride when I see so many of you out here. You’re out here for a country that needs help to see what you can do to help. Even though you’re far away, there are many things you can do to help. What you’re doing today is perhaps the best thing of all. You’re here to give witness to the fact we do care about people who suffer everywhere and today we are interested with those who are suffering in a far-away land called Sudan. I applaud you all for your interest in this part of the world.”
— ND —