United States of America: Sharon Hutchinson

Dr. Hutchinson is a woman of strength, courage, and resilience and inspires the same in her students and peers. As her students, we would like her silent efforts to be recognized and made visible.

— Sharon Hutchinson

For the past 25 years, Sharon Hutchinson has initiated grassroots efforts and focused international attention on human rights abuses in war-torn Sudan. An anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and a human rights consultant, her research has taken her to the frontlines. As one of the monitors on the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, she has helped investigate and document attacks against civilians by the Sudan Army, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, and government-allied militias. Her book "Nuer Dilemmas" is a core textbook in many American and European universities.

Sharon began her research in southern Sudan in the late 1970s and early 1980s during the tempestuous years preceding the civil war. When she returned to Nuerland in the 1990s, she found the people physically and emotionally exhausted. When oil was discovered in southern Sudan and the killing intensified, Sharon felt that she must play a role in mediating dialogue between the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the Government of Sudan, and the US State Department, to bring about a ceasefire in the country's long civil war. Her passion continues to be to ensure that the voices of the southern Sudanese reach US and international human rights communities. It is a responsibility that she has carried with humility and devotion. She helped organize grassroots peace activities and guided aid work through NGOs such as Amnesty International and Save the Children, and conducted extensive undercover work documenting civilian human rights abuses for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. She is working on constructing three elementary schools in the Western Upper Nile and is in the process of developing curriculum materials.

University of Wisconsin (Madison) Civilian Protection Monitoring Team