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FROM CIVIL WAR TO BUSINESS MANAGEMENT: FIRST SUDANESE MBA WANTS


HIS HOMELAND TO PROSPER By Seb Murray


Husameldin Elnasri is the first Sudanese Lancaster MBA. With his home ravaged by a 60-year civil war, he works in agriculture to make Sudan a better place. Read his remarkable journey to prosperity.


Husameldin Elnasri is from the war-torn country of Sudan. He is the first Sudanese MBA to study on the MBA program at Lancaster University Management School. He left his wife and two young daughters behind in Khartoum, the second largest city in the Republic of Sudan, West of Ethiopia, to further his business career and bring prosperity to his homeland. Husameldin has completed a remarkable journey to study in the United Kingdom from a country that has been ravaged by civil wars for over 60 years.


He successfully completed his MBA in 2012 and was held in the highest esteem by his peers. He was voted as the most admired MBA for supporting, advising and helping colleagues; voted as the most respected class member for his future leadership potential; and was voted as the class member who will achieve the most senior business position. He also won The Independent’s MBA student of the


year award. He has demonstrated extraordinary achievements in the face of adversity.


But his MBA was abruptly put on hold when Sudan, split into two countries – North and South - when the people of the south voted for independence in 2011, returned to fighting a civil war that has so far cost the lives of over 1.5 million people.


Husameldin is speaking to me on a temperamental internet connection on Skype. His two daughters climb up to the seat next to their father, intrigued by the conversation, fidgety and excitable. “There was no way I was going to stay in the UK because I was so worried,” he says of flying back to Sudan, mid-MBA. “The area where I was living had people from North and South Sudan living in the same area and the atmosphere was very volatile. I got really scared about my family.”


Husameldin considerers himself lucky that he was on a break between Semesters, but others would argue his fortune lay in being able to stay out of the conflict. The war has driven nearly 2 million people from their homes. “Although they kept on telling me on the phone that we were okay, I felt like I needed to be there,” he continues. “So I quickly finished my essays, submitted them and then flew


straight back home.” His daughter climbs up onto his lap, peering into the camera. I can see that there is nothing more important to Husameldin than his family.


Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world, and poverty is deeply entrenched in some communities. But Husameldin was raised in what he considers a “middle class, very political” family. He says there was always food on the table, his school was in walking distance and water always flew from the taps. “It was an easy life”, he says, almost shamefully. But before Husameldin studied an MBA at one of the UK’s top-ranked business schools, he was involved in various community projects to help the people of Sudan. He cares about poverty alleviation. “It really changed my perspective,” he says.


“I went to an area of Sudan where there were women and small girls who had to carry water for almost one or two kilometres just to reach home. And it wasn’t even good (clean) water.


“Schools were not really available and even the primary school kids have to walk really far. People are dying from diseases that are completely preventable, and when I went there, the look I’ve seen in people’s eyes... that really changed the way I look at myself.


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