Suad Mansour, a native of North Darfur, spent nine years as a pioneering leader in women's development in Sudan before fleeing to the United States, where she now is a permanent resident.
After graduating from universities in Sudan and Ireland, Mansour joined the staff of several NGOs, including Oxfam, which focuses on rural women’s development in Sudan.
In 1995, she helped form the Community Development Committee (CDC) to serve women displaced by the civil war in southern Sudan, as well as by drought in western Sudan. The CDC became a model for involving displaced women in shaping their own economic and political future through leadership training.
Mansour became president of the organization and helped to build its programs. However, when the CDC received funds from a Canadian source without government permission, she was targeted by Sudanese security forces. She decided to leave the organization and Sudan for her own safety. The CDC continues to work in Sudan.
In February 2005, Mansour spent four months in refugee camps in Chad, where she met countless survivors who witnessed the bombing and burning of villages, the loss of family members, and brutal rapes.
In 2007, she was named to the Darfuri Leaders Network, a United States-based alliance of Darfuri diaspora representatives, and was selected to head one of its core committees. In that role, she is coordinating Darfuri outreach to other advocacy organizations in the United States and abroad.
She also works for the Darfur Alert Coalition, where she chairs the Projects Committee and is a founding board member.