In front of amped up students smeared with blue and gray paint, a sold-out arena, and President Obama and his entourage, students and alumni from Georgetown and Duke universities kicked off their partnership today with the Darfur Dream Team.
It was one of the most highly anticipated college basketball games of the season, made all the more exciting with the VIPs in the audience. But about 12 minutes into the game, all eyes turned toward the NBA’s Tracy McGrady, who flew in from Houston to lend his star-power to the launch of the joint project. McGrady, who co-founded the Darfur Dream Team with Enough’s John Prendergast after a trip together to Darfuri refugee camps in 2007, helped direct attention up to the Jumbotron, and here’s what they saw:
The Georgetown STAND group and the Duke for Darfur coalition teamed up and pledged to raise money to refurbish and equip two schools in Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad. Thanks in large part to their high-profile event today, they are well on their way.
The U.N. refugee agency, a key partner of the Darfur Dream Team, got in on the action today too. Alexander Aleinikoff, the incoming U.N. deputy commissioner for refugees and a Georgetown alum, and Michel Gabaudan, the UNHCR Regional Representative for the United States and the Caribbean, attended the game with U.N. colleagues. Gabaudan said that he was “delighted” by the Georgetown-Duke partnership and the attention generated by the video.
“The refugee experience doesn’t have to be negative,” Gabaudan said. “By getting these Darfuri kids in school, we can help shelter them from hardships and start restoring dignity,” which is especially important for people who have been forced from their homes, he explained. He lauded the plans for schools in the United States to regularly interact with their sister schools in the Darfuri camps: “It reminds us that after all, we’re quite close together.”
Video produced and directed by Robert Padavick. Editing and animation by Jeff Trussell.