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Doctor and blogger from war-torn Sudan opens book tour with campus talk

Medical doctor and blogger Dr. James Masalyk wrote about his experiences in war-torn Sudan. He will visit the campus on Feb. 26. (Book cover image by Scott Richardson.)

In his popular blog “Suddenly…Sudan,” Dr. James Maskalyk chronicled his experiences treating malnourished children, fending off a measles epidemic, and witnessing the horrific consequences of war while serving as a doctor for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders/MSF) in Sudan.

Now he will share his amazing story at an exclusive engagement at U of T Scarborough on Thursday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, AA 160.

"People are hungry to be brought closer to the world, even its hard parts,” writes Maskalyk in his upcoming book Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-Torn Village (Doubleday Canada, 2009). “I went to Sudan, and am [sharing my experiences] again, because I believe that which separates action from inaction is the same thing that separates me from my friends. It is not indifference. It is distance. May it fall away."

The upcoming event, called Inside the Leaders’ Circle follows the highly-successful latest installment of the department of student life’s Perspectives on Leadership lecture, which attracted more than 700 students who came out to hear Dr. James Orbinski -- also from Doctors without Borders -- this past November. Breaking from the traditional lecture format, Inside the Leaders’ Circle provides a more informal question-and-answer format in which a moderator will ask Maskalyk about his past experiences and accomplishments, his opinions on leadership, as well what important lessons he learned from his time in Sudan and other developing countries.

“The purpose of Inside the Leaders’ Circle,” explains Drew Dudley, coordinator of leadership development at U of T Scarborough, “is to facilitate intimate opportunities for students to hear the amazing stories of individuals who may have not yet walked into the national spotlight.” Through these stories, Dudley hopes students will be inspired to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of their peers -- an overarching objective of the department of student life’s Leadership Development Program.

Maskalyk’s appearance also signals an evolution in a burgeoning partnership between the department of student life and Random House of Canada Inc. – Canada’s largest book publisher. It is both parties intention to continue working with one another to offer new and innovative programming for students, staff, faculty, and authors alike.

“The U of T Scarborough department of student life has helped us a great deal in increasing awareness and profile for our author’s works through their unique and relevant speaking engagements,” notes Scott Sellers, vice-president marketing & strategy for Random House of Canada Inc. “These publicity engagements have raised the bar in our industry and we look forward to continue working with them to create mutually-beneficial programming at the University of Toronto Scarborough.”

Admission to Inside the Leaders’ Circle is free. However, seating is very limited. To reserve a spot, visit or contact Drew Dudley at

by Allan Grant

© University of Toronto Scarborough