2006_09_savedarfur2.jpgDonning blue UN "peace keeper" hats and protest signs, an estimated 20,000 people gathered in Central Park yesterday to demand the end to the genocide in Darfur. A large percentage of those present were college students who traveled in bus loads to attend. Timed to coincide with this week's opening of the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations. the rally was a part of the Global Day for Darfur, a day of assemblies in cities across the world, including Phnom Penh, Nairobi, and London. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Actress Mira Sorvino, and Country music stars Big and Rich addressed the crowd, among many others.

Yesterday, many of those same college students and young professionals met for a Global Young Leaders Summit, hosted by Americans for Informed Democracy, a non-partisan organization whose mission is to "Bring the World Home." The nearly two hundred attendees of that summit heard from Mark Hanis, 24, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network and Erin Mazursky, 21, Executive Director, Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND), two young people whose actions helped organize the students activism at today's rally. Besides addressing Darfur, the summit heard from Varun Gauri, Senior Economist at The World Bank who announced the publication of its 2007 World Development Report. This year's report addresses "Development and the Next Generation." His advice for the students was to lobby for change for the conditions of their peers around the world. The turnout of young people at the rally certainly seems to indicate they are on track to do just that and more.