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Cablegate: Ivlp Country Allocaton for Sudan: Request Increase

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1791 3510958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160958Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2540

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001791

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR R JCURTAIN, AF/FO, AF/PDPA FOR PEHRNMAN, R/A FOR JMOYES,
ECA-IIP/EX/G, AF/SPG, ECA FOR MCROUCH AND RBRADLEY, ECA/A/E/AF,
ECA/PE/V/R/N, ECA/PE/V/, OIG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO SCUL OEXC ASIG SU
SUBJECT: IVLP COUNTRY ALLOCATON FOR SUDAN: REQUEST INCREASE

REF: A) STATE 114917, B) STATE 022899, C) KHARTOUM 001739, D)
KHARTOUM 001753, E)KHARTOUM UNCLAS 001781

1. (SBU) Summary: By geographic area, Sudan is the largest country
in Africa. It has a population of over 40 million, and due to the
terrible humanitarian and political crises in Darfur plus the
importance of reaping peace dividends through implementation of the
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending Africa's longest
civil war, Sudan is the USG's highest policy priority on the
continent. There is an opportunity right now in Sudan, with the
country's first nation-wide elections scheduled for 2009 and a
crucial referendum on southern Sudan's possible independence in
2011, to use the IVLP to tremendous advantage for U.S. national
security interests at a pivotal moment in Sudan's history. Last
year, the post submitted twenty IVPL nominees. ECA approved a final
slate of only eight. Post is requesting that figure be doubled for
FY-2009, for a total slate of sixteen. End Summary.

2. (U) The International Visitor Leadership Program is normally one
of a range of exchange offerings at post by the Bureau of
Educational Affairs (ECA). In Sudan, however, IVLP is the premier
exchange program, as the Fulbright Program, Hubert H. Humphrey
Fellowships and Youth Programs Division are not currently open to
Sudan through ECA. In the 1980s, when the U.S. had strong bilateral
relations with Sudan, the IVLP reflected the latter in the large
numbers of grantees who traveled to the United States. Over the
years, Sudanese returnees rose to influential positions in critical
fields and regions (southern Sudan and Darfur among them.) When the
bilateral relationship soured in the 1990s, however, those numbers
declined precipitously.

3. (U) The closure of our Embassy from 1995 to 2002 due to security
reasons resulted in lost IVLP opportunities to influence a
generation of future Sudanese leaders. When the U.S. Embassy
reopened in 2003, the IVLP remained a shadow of what it had once
been. This has been true despite the enormous opportunities the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement affords the Mission in putting
together slates that truly reflect Sudan's political, economic,
racial, ethnic and religious diversity.

4. (U) There is an opportunity right now in Sudan, with the
country's first nation-wide elections scheduled for 2009 and a
crucial referendum on southern Sudan's possible independence in
2011, to use the IVLP to tremendous advantage for U.S. national
security interests at a pivotal moment in Sudan's history. Last
year, post submitted twenty nominations. ECA approved a final slate
of just eight. Post is seeking to double that figure in FY-2009, for
a total slate of sixteen.

5. (U) During Sudan's 2007 inspection, the Office of the Inspector
General (OIG) recognized the importance of the IVLP when it noted:
"The post is eager to expand its International Visitor Leadership
Program (IVLP). It has nominated ten candidates for FY 2007, but it
is unclear how many slots will be funded. The post has been active
in debriefing visitors and, in December 2006, re-created a
mission-wide IVLP selection committee. Despite these efforts,
funding for Sudan's IVLP has remained flat."

6. (U) The Mission is committed to resuscitating this crucial
program and to nominating the very best and most promising
candidates. IVs from southern Sudan and from the Three Areas
(Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei) would help work toward
balanced development in Sudan. Yet, if our numbers remain at under
ten grantees a year, such efforts will not be nearly enough to make
a difference here. With an increase in the country allotment for
Sudan, ECA can assist in paving the way for the next generation of
leaders in Sudan.

7. (U) Before departing post on annual leave, CDA Fernandez approved
this request.

ASQUINO

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