Ivan Gayton Talk: The Farchana Manifesto, MSF, Darfur, Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Aid

My friend Ivan Gayton is giving a talk with slides and film this Monday (March 16) at 7:30 at the Pacific Cinemateque 1131 Howe Street, downtown Vancouver.

Ivan has worked with Medecins Sans Frontieres for years as an on-the-ground project manager. He will be talking about his experiences in Chad, Darfur (Sudan) and the Central African Republic to just name a few of the places, explaining from his point-of-view individual country politics, refugee camps, humanitarian aid and all such subjects that are simultaneously compelling, painful, tragic, hopeful and confusing.

The focus of the talk, however, will be on his most recent experiences in the Farchana refugee camp in Chad, which has become, tragically, what’s called ‘semi-permanent.’

I so recommend coming to hear Ivan speak. He is very clear, experienced, informed and compelling.


The hour long talk will no doubt (and unfortunately) be heightened by the recent abduction of three MSF workers in Darfur. Sudan has recently been closed to most foreign aid workers by the notorious Sudanese President Bashir. Bashir is angered at being accused of War Crimes by the ICC—and has accused those he’s thrown out for being in cahoots with the ICC. Tragically, one of the MSF aid workers, nurse and artist/photographer Laura Archer—a lovely woman, evidently, from PEI, who lives in Montreal—is a friend and co-worker of Ivan’s. They worked together in the Central African Republic. Here’s a little bit about her, and her art.

Ironically, I passed this tragic news along to Ivan today, having just read about it, minutes before Ivan was having a meeting with someone who wants to work with MSF.

Anyway, may Laura, and all three, be safe.

As for my relationship with Ivan, we met about a year and half ago, when he gave a slide-show talk at the home of a mutual friend. From there, and from his experiences and knowledge, I put together two short ten-minute films—advocacy pieces, I guess, to be more accurate.

Darfur In Ten Minutes: An Overview of the Conflict in Sudan, its title self-explanatory, is Ivan’s very clear take on the conflict in Sudan, and a great example of his intelligence. You can see it here.

At the Cinemateque, Ivan will be showing the Farchana Manifesto: Women Fighting For Refugee Rights, built, with a few spare parts, around an interview that Ivan did, and brought back from the Farchana Refugee Camp in Chad (see my previous blog). The interview was with a remarkable woman who, with a group of other Darfuri refugee women, had the immense courage to speak out against their treatment in the refugee camp.

Motivated after a night of terror in the camp, in June of last summer, the women put together a document that has come to be called The Farchana Manifesto.

Ivan will be able to add details that, for the safety of the women, were not highlighted in the film.

The show will last about an hour, and then will have a Q&A. I might even be there for a few questions, if only, by my responses, to make Ivan look even better.

Hope you can come by. Tickets are free at the door, with a whopping two dollar suggested donation to help cover the costs.

Lots of love to you, and may you be safe and free,

Pete xo


One Response to “Ivan Gayton Talk: The Farchana Manifesto, MSF, Darfur, Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Aid”

  1. Kristina Kaminski says:

    Pete McCormack,

    I had the pleasure of hearing your friend Ivan Gayton speak at a Canadian Club of Regina luncheon in May 2007. His presentation on his work with MSF resonated with me, so much so, that it influenced my major in International Affairs and Development Studies at the University of Regina. I was wondering if you could give me his contact information as I am immensely interested in the Doctors Without Borders organization, as well as Gayton’s work with it and would like to know how I can go about getting involved and apply my soon-to-be BA Honours degree.

    Thank you,

    Kristina Kaminski

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