The Playing for Peace initiative, “Stay with Sudan: Build a Future,” aims to harness the power of college athletics to shine a light on the Sudanese people, who remain at risk for violence, hunger and displacement.

The undertaking is co-sponsored by the Villanova University Partnership with CRS, the Villanova University and Seton Hall University athletic departments, and the Villanova University Center for Peace and Justice Education. The event is one of a series of University-wide efforts at Villanova in 2011-12 addressing the situation in Sudan and South Sudan.

When the Villanova University men’s basketball team takes on Seton Hall University on Jan. 18 at The Pavilion (7 p.m.), the teams will be playing for more than just a victory. Villanova and Seton Hall will join forces with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in “Playing for Peace.” The Playing for Peace initiative, “Stay with Sudan: Build a Future,” aims to harness the power of college athletics, in order to shine a light on the Sudanese people who remain at risk of violence, hunger, displacement and human suffering.

As part of this initiative, CRS will provide the coaching staff of both teams with special Playing for Peace ribbons to wear during the game. Villanova and Seton Hall have also designed shooting shirts for players to wear during pre-game warm-ups and halftime.

CRS student ambassadors will greet fans as they enter the arena to distribute half-page fact sheets with information about “Playing for Peace,” and instructions for an important legislative ask. A halftime ceremony featuring remarks from the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President, will further shine a light on the importance of “Staying with Sudan.”

Villanova alumnus and Sudanese “Lost Boy” Malual Deng-Duot ’11, as well as other Lost Boys living locally in Philadelphia, will be in attendance for the event.

The Playing for Peace initiative is unique in that it unites the justice-oriented mission of Villanova University with its community passion for basketball.” – Dr. Jennifer Joyce Kissko Villanova Center for Peace and Justice Education

By concentrating the game on an important and timely global issue of peace, it enables the Villanova community to come together and reflect on how athletics, as sport, can also serve as a vehicle for justice – offering a distinctive opportunity to educate, advocate, pray and play in pursuit of peace for greater humanity,” added Kissko, principal organizer for the event.

In anticipation of the 2011 Sudanese referendum vote, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and CRS launched the Campaign for Peace in Sudan initiative to raise awareness, advocacy and prayers for the people of Sudan. The Villanova University community actively participated in the campaign. Despite a peaceful vote that resulted in South Sudan seceding to become the world’s newest nation, peace and stability in all of Sudan remain at a critical juncture. Political tensions and allegations of attacks on civilians are occurring in the disputed border areas daily.

CRS sees the shared Catholic mission of Villanova University and Seton Hall University, which educates their students to become global citizens committed to a peaceful world, as an opportunity to use the power of their voice and their resources to advocate for and give continued support to peace in Sudan.” ?- Joan Rosenhauer Executive Vice President U.S. Operations Catholic Relief Services