Al Jazeera Centre for Studies organised a research symposium entitled "Sudan's Two States: Post-Secession Opportunities and Risks" that took place on Saturday and Sunday, 14-15 January 2012, in Doha.
The symposium was attended by a considerable number of diplomats, experts in the field, academics, intellectuals and journalists. Ambassador Abdullah Ibrahim al-Haj, a board member of Al Jazeera Network, launched the symposium and welcomed the attendees on behalf of the chairman of the board of directors, Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani. He explained that the symposium was consistent with "Al Jazeera's method of keeping up with issues and developments that have occurred since last year, including South Sudan’s referendum for independence and the Arab revolutions." He also maintained that Al Jazeera remains "at the service of mankind all over the world."
In his opening speech, Dr. Salah Eddin Elzein spoke to the challenges and the momentous changes of the past year, especially the "Arab revolutions that deposed regimes and pushed new political forces to reach a position of decision-making." He also maintained that the secession ofSouth Sudan "altered geography" with the redrawing of one country’s border, and the birth of another. He further alluded to the continued tensions that had already emerged in the first six months after secession between the two countries –Sudan and Southern Sudan.
In five sessions, that took place over two days, the symposium engaged around a number of important issues, including the challenges of reforming the north and rebuilding the south. Discussion further explored the complexities of the relations between the two countries, while also highlighting the regional and international implications and relations that are a result of the secession.
The symposium was closed by Al Jazeera's Director General, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, who concluded that the symposium had subscribed to the Al Jazeera Network's message of establishing awareness. He felt confident in the importance and relevance of the symposium in encouraging dialogue between Sudanese parties in the north and south of Sudan. He also drew attention to the symposium's title, "Sudan's Two States: Post-Secession Opportunities and Risks," stating that "we hope that the risks become opportunities that are capitalised on, and this is what we strive for and aim to maintain."
It should be noted that Al Jazeera Centre for Studies will publish the papers that were presented in all the sessions and additionally a detailed report on the most important events and discussions of the symposium will be published.