Guest: Melanie Gallant, Head of Media Relations at Oxfam Canada.
About: South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, following decades of civil war. However, any notions of renewed peace were quickly shattered when the country fell into civil war again in 2013, triggered by a political split in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party. The two main opposition groups are divided along ethnic lines, the SPLM led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit as an ethnic Dinka, and the SPLM-IO led by his former Vice-President and Party Deputy Riek Machar as an ethnic Nuer. This has led to severe internal displacement, violence and most recently, a widespread famine. From February to April 2017, an estimated 4.9 million people were severely food insecure with this number expected to increase to 5.5 million by next month. How did it get to this point? Is there a solution to this humanitarian crisis?
Melanie Gallant is currently Head of Media Relations at Oxfam Canada, covering a vast portfolio of national and international issues and projects. Melanie has built specific expertise on women’s rights and humanitarian issues. A published author and experienced public speaker, she led media relations for Oxfam’s response to the Ebola Crisis out of Freetown, Sierra Leone, at the height of the epidemic. Most recently, she was on mission in Syrian refugee settlements in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and has built significant expertise around issues related to current food crises facing South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen.
Melanie has a Graduate Degree in Communications and Media Studies from Concordia University, and an Undergraduate degree in International Management from McGill University. She is originally from Moncton, New Brunswick, and is fluent in French, English and Spanish.
Image courtesy of Jurist
This episode of Policy Talks was originally published on the Policy Talks Podcast website.