In 2007, genocide in Darfur was entering its fifth year with no meaningful protection for civilians. More than 200,000 people had died, and 2.5 million had been displaced; survivors were living in inhumane conditions in refugee camps.
The international community stated clearly its desire to address the crisis, but Khartoum, due to the support it was receiving from China, was able to continue defying the United Nations. China was Sudan’s largest and closest business partner, importing two-thirds of Sudan’s oil, supplying most of its weapons and providing diplomatic protection to its government. China was also set to host the 2008 Olympics.
Dream for Darfur was launched in June 2007 to address China’s role in effectively underwriting the genocide in Sudan while enjoying the prestige of hosting the preeminent symbol of international cooperation. The project used advocacy and strategic communications tactics to mobilize citizens, policymakers and the Olympic community worldwide to encourage China to “Bring the Olympic Dream to Darfur.” These included:
- Symbolic Olympic Torch Relays – The “Darfur to Beijing” Symbolic Torch Relay began at the Chad/Darfur border and travelled through countries that have experienced genocide. In each country, advocates called on China to “Bring the Olympic Dream to Darfur.” Other countries launched similar events in solidarity with the international relay, including the US, Italy, Canada, China (Hong Kong), South Africa, the UK, France and Sierra Leone.
- Public education and grassroots mobilization: Through its advocacy, particularly the torch relays, Dream for Darfur helped build the global anti-genocide movement. The campaign coordinated international grassroots advocacy, offering technical assistance for events and media outreach, and providing effective online advocacy tools.
- Private advocacy with Olympic stakeholders: Dream for Darfur met and corresponded with Chinese officials, leaders of the national and international Olympic Movements, Olympic corporate sponsors and others associated with the Games to press China to help create peace in Darfur before August 2008.
Dream for Darfur did not advocate a boycott of the Olympics or the withdrawal of any nation from the Games. The project ceased operation in 2009.
Please contact PIP for more information about Dream For Darfur.