The Wonks Who Sold Washington on South Sudan

Yida refugee camp, a few kilometers from the border, Unity State, South Sudan. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

The following text is a brief excerpt from a recent article published by Reuters. The full article can be found on the Reuters website.

In the mid-1980s, a small band of policy wonks began convening for lunch in the back corner of a dimly lit Italian bistro in the U.S. capital.

After ordering beers, they would get down to business: how to win independence for southern Sudan, a war-torn place most American politicians had never heard of.

They called themselves the Council and gave each other clannish nicknames: the Emperor, the Deputy Emperor, the Spear Carrier. The unlikely fellowship included an Ethiopian refugee to America, an English-lit professor and a former Carter administration official who once sported a ponytail.