June 28th, 2011
After their announcement of the new VOA Africa Health Network, BBG Governors Meehan, Perino, and McCue return from Nigeria today.

After their announcement of the new VOA Africa Health Network, BBG Governors Meehan, Perino, and McCue return from Nigeria today.

June 27th, 2011


Kids at Abuja wanted bikes. @michaelpmeehan and I in car saw bikes for sale. Now negotiating. #usib http://yfrog.com/kiaqytvj


4 bikes, a dangerous u-turn, and a crowded vehicle, @michaelpmeehan and I on way to deliver! #usib http://yfrog.com/kjrcqzj

June 25th, 2011

Meeting with local journalists

On Friday night, BBG governors met leading journalists and editors at a restaurant on the Blue Nile. In the background was a bridge — the only bridge in 800 miles. It underscores the lack of development in South Sudan which had virtually no paved roads four years ago.

Bruce Sherman, BBG director of Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement

The governors learned about the situation on South Kordafan where there is a growing humanitarian crisis. The Khartoum government is bombing civilians in the Nuba mountains.

"We are looking for a dialogue with the people of South Sudan," said Michael Meehan.

Journalists told BBG that they wanted the GOSS to enact media laws as soon as possible in order to protect journalists who on occasion have been harassed and arrested.

The Minister of Information expressed the GOSS’ commitment to press freedom for everyone.

The governors are flying back to Ethiopia Saturday for more meetings with the media and other officials.

Joan Mower

June 25th, 2011

Busy Day in Juba

Governors had a jam-packed day on Friday in Juba. After breakfast with the VOA stringers, the BBG Governors met with medical students at the University of Juba. Most of the students are suffering because the university is not open, they often don’t have any housing and they don’t have enough food. Even so, Dr. Thomas Burke of Massachusetts General Hospital said the students were as dedicated and motivated as any he had seen the world. Dr. Burke is working with American med students to train the Sudanese. Doctors are desperately needed in Sudan where there are only 20 doctors for nearly 9 million people.
Board Members mingled with the students at the Juba Episcopal Diocesan Model Secondary School. Some students wanted to be doctors and pilots but few of them wanted to become teachers. That’s because teachers are frequently not paid in Sudan.

The Board Members met with the Minister of Information Baraha Marcial Benjamin to discuss the cooperation between South Sudan and the VOA/BBG in the future when the country gains independence.

 The Town Hall meeting was a huge success. Benjamin talked about the “wonderful relationship with VOA,”

More to come…

Joan Mower

June 24th, 2011

Town Hall Press Conference - & Raffle!

Posted by Sonya Laurence Green:

After several hours of lively, informative discussion, the meeting concluded with a press conference by Susan McCue, Dana Perino & Michael Meehan, and a VOA raffle. Here I am with Marvis Birungi, VOA Juba bureau reporter (wearing the VOA t-shirt) and one of the lucky winners! Prizes were self-powered Dynamo radios. It was a long, but very rewarding day.

June 24th, 2011

"South Sudan Independence: The Way Forward"

Posted by Sonya Laurence Green:

Today was our Town Hall meeting on South Sudan’s coming independence, held at the Juba Grand Hotel. A high-level panel included a government official, business representative, civil society activist, and ambassador from the African Union.  Three members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors made opening remarks touching on issues of democracy and media rights. Great insight & perspectives from the panel and audience!

Left to right:
Ngor Ayuel (South Sudan Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin (Minister of Information), Lorna Merekaje (Sudan Domestic Election Monitoring & Observation Programme), Nakaha Stanislas (African Union Liaison Officer in Southern Sudan)

Board governors Susan McCue, Dana Perino & Michael Meehan made opening remarks - notice the slogan of our VOA program Sudan in Focus: “We ask the questions, You get the answers.” Here Sudan in Focus co-host John Tanza asks his question, followed by a young audience member.

June 24th, 2011

At the University of Juba

Posted by Joan Mower:

Susan McCue and Dana Perino at the University of Juba, where students are not in session because teachers have not yet returned to South Sudan.

Michael Meehan in front of the university’s Clock Tower, at the center of the campus. The university has a recycling center ready & waiting for the school population to return.

For more on the University of Juba, check this VOA story from earlier this year - Juba University Struggles to Build Capacity for Southern Sudan’s Reconstruction.

June 24th, 2011

Reception in Juba

Posted by Joan Mower:

L to R: Michael Meehan, Dana Perino, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Susan McCue

The governors with Dr. Benjamin Barnaba Marial, Minister of Information for the Government of South Sudan. This is at a reception where Dr. Marial expressed support for press freedom and called for a partnership with VOA.

June 23rd, 2011

Governors Arrive in Juba

Posted by Joan Mower:

The governors arrived in Juba, Sudan today - second stop on their Africa trip. Juba will be the capital of South Sudan, slated to become the world’s newest nation on July 9! For now, the resource-rich region remains one of the poorest places on earth.

After a meeting with U.S. consulate staff, our group attended a social event for leading South Sudan officials. Minister of Information Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said he would like VOA “to play a big role in the independent media.”

June 22nd, 2011

Opportunity to Meet with Frontline Reporters

Michael Meehan, Susan McCue & Dana Perino meet with VOA reporters Girmay Gebru, Meleskachew Ameha & Eskinder Firew to hear firsthand about their work and experiences.


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