Sudanese-American poetess and peace activist Emi Mahmoud has started a 1290 km two-month walk from Northern Darfur's capital city of al-Fashir down to the nation's capital, Khartoum.
"This initiative has come from peace and will be for peace," Emi said at her journey's starting point from the al-Zubair Mohammad Salih Sports Playground in al-Fashir.
Born Emtithal Mahmoud in Darfur, Emi moved with her family to Yemen when she was a toddler, then to the United States in 1998.
Over sixty youths have volunteered to accompany Emi on her long walk that will have some pauses in el-Obied (Northern Kordofan), Kosti (the White Nile State) Jebel Awlia (on the outskirts of Khartoum) and then down-town Khartoum.
"Peace is not a local issue, it is an international cause. Efforts should be mobilized, facts should be told and people should be on good terms with each other in order to achieve peace and firmly go ahead for it," said Emi.
"Women are strong and present everywhere," she further asserted.
Emi said she was supported by international organizations in her initiative. "Everybody is standing by my side in this initiative which will be a step by step journey towards peace," she said
She said she had mobilized a vast number of youths from the towns and IDP camps of Darfur and from the universities to back her in this walk after she obtained support and consent of Northern Darfur State Governor and the State's security.
Northern Darfur Youth and Sports Minister Hikma Ibrahim Abdallah, who represented the State Governor in the kick off ceremony, said her government "supports such initiatives that truly represent the hopes and expectations of the people of Darfur."
Emi studies medicine in Yale University where she joined the Yale Slam (peace) Team. She won a prize in 2015 for her poem "Mama".
Since high school, Emi has also been an activist advocating for attention to the continuing violence in Darfur. She was on the BBC's 100 Women list of "the most inspirational women across the world in 2015, and she was invited to a 2016 round-table with President Obama when he visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore. In 2017, Emi took part in the How to do good speaker tour, performing poetry and discussing her advocacy work in Oslo, Stockholm, The Hague, Brussels, Paris, London and New York. Since 2014, she has also been advocating for the rights of sickle cell disease patients in Nepal.