Saturday, May 31, 2008

Permanent Fund Board Asked to Divest

Save Darfur Anchorage volunteers and Darfur refugees asked the Permanent Fund Board during the Board's Anchorage meeting on May 28th to adopt a targeted Sudan divestment policy. Save Darfur Anchorage members Debbie Bock and Kelley Nixon gave testimony encouraging the divestment, while Safi Mohammed Ali, a Darfur refugee who recently arrived in Anchorage, pleaded that the Board "do all that is in your power to bring peace to my homeland."

As of March 31, 2008, the Permanent Fund had $17.5 million of direct holdings in 3 companies that are considered by the Sudan Divestment Task Force (SDTF) as being among about 25 companies that provide the greatest financial and/or political support to the Government of Sudan, while providing very little to no support to the people of Darfur or other marginalized Sudanese populations. These 3 companies are Alstom, Wartsila, and Lundin Petroleum AB. To learn more about these companies' operations in Sudan, go to The SDTF Reports Page and download the Sudan Company Report.

In 2007, the Permanent Fund had approximately $22 million invested in 6 Highest Offender companies. Save Darfur Anchorage commended the Permanent Fund Corporation for having divested from 2 of those companies earlier this year and encouraged continued divestment. The third company, Petrofac, was removed by the SDTF from the Highest Offenders list after the company completed a SDTF-approved Substantial Action Plan. In this plan, Petrofac has committed to funding the first 2 years of a 4-year pilot education program in southern Sudan, with the option to extend the funding. The pilot will involve funding 60 one-room primary schools, whose students will be from marginalized areas of south Sudan. The project hopes to provide education to girls and other children who do not have the opportunity to attend school.

Please continue to voice your support for targeted divestment to the Permanent Fund Corporation:
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
P.O.Box 115500
Juneau, Ak 99811-5500
(907) 796-1500, TTY (907) 796-1523

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Darfur Refugee to Share His Story

Save Darfur Anchorage is meeting May 24th from 11AM to 1PM. The public is invited to attend. One of the newly arrived Darfur refugees will share his story and answer questions. Abu's English is very good and he is eager to raise Alaskans' awareness about the Darfur Genocide.

Come welcome Abu (and hopefully other Darfur refugees) to Anchorage and learn about his journey here. The setting will be very informal. Some Save Darfur Anchorage business will be conducted during the meeting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Darfur Refugees Arrive in Anchorage

Save Darfur Anchorage hosted a picnic on May 10th to welcome Darfur refugees to Anchorage. All have been in Anchorage for less than 2 months and one man and his mother arrived only four days before the picnic. This same man and mother lived in a refugee camp in Ghana before being moved to Anchorage. In the refugee camp they befriended the Karief family, who were moved to Anchorage just over a month ago and who also attended the picnic!

Like any picnic there was a lot of eating and laughter, some games, and a lot of chatting to get to know each other. We located on a map where our guests lived before leaving Sudan. We learned about their lives prior to the Genocide. One man operated heavy machinery, another was a shopkeeper. And, we learned some about the refugee placement process.

The placement process is a long one. One man had left Darfur in 1999, others left Sudan in 2003, and still others in 2005. Some lived in refugee camps for years while awaiting placement. All moved to Anchorage because that's where there were placement openings. No one "picked" Anchorage.

Many of the refugees are enrolled in English as a Second Language classes and they are doing great, although some are more shy than others to try out their English. The children are picking up the English very quickly.

We are looking forward to getting to know more about our new friends and to providing opportunities for Anchorage to learn more about them, too.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Permanent Fund Board to Meet in Anchorage May 28th & 29th

When the Permanent Fund Board meets at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Anchorage May 28-29, representatives from Save Darfur Anchorage will ask board members to divest the roughly $22 million the Fund has invested in companies bankrolling the Darfur Genocide. Although legislation that would require the Permanent Fund Corporation to divest the Permanent Fund did not pass the Alaska Legislature, the Permanent Fund Corporation can divest the Fund voluntarily, and that's exactly want we will ask them to do.

Please stop by the Marriott and voice your support for divestment. The Board will hear all public comments beginning at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, May 28th. They need to hear that Alaskans want our Permanent Fund divested. They need to hear it and we need to say it!

If you can't make it to the Marriott, please call, write, or email the Permanent Fund Corporation. Let them know that you think it is unacceptable to have $22 million dollars invested in Worst Offender companies (as identified by the Sudan Divestment Task Force). Remind them that there are many other equally profitable investment options--ones that don't support genocide.

Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
P.O.Box 115500
Juneau, Ak 99811-5500
(907) 796-1500, TTY (907) 796-1523