News Release

Elder Bednar Makes Historic Visit to Sudan  

Elder David A. Bednar visited the Republic of the Sudan on February 8-12, 2020, becoming the first member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to visit the African nation. Elder Bednar was accompanied by his wife, Susan, during the four-day trip to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

Sudan is a country of 43 million people and is in a historic period of political and economic transition. Elder Bednar says there is a sense of hope for the future.

“There is a great optimism as we met with people in a wide variety of settings. They’re very eager for freedom, more freedom than they’ve had in the past, and the government seems very determined to be able to fulfill that promise,” he said.


Elder Bednar’s visit to Sudan was made possible by his warm relationship with Omer Dahab, who is Sudan’s former acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Mr. Dahab has visited Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and participated in the International Law and Religion Symposium at Brigham Young University. Mr. Dahab and his son, Mohamed, helped facilitate a series of productive meetings with several high-level government leaders.

During Elder Bednar’s meeting with the Deputy Chairperson of the Sovereignty Council, a body that serves as the interim head of state for Sudan, both leaders shared their common hope for the future of the Sudanese people and the country. After the meeting, there was a brief press conference where Elder Bednar introduced himself and encouraged a positive future for the people of Sudan.

The needs of the Sudanese people were the topic of discussion during meetings with the Minister of Labor and Social Development, Lina Al-Sheikh Omer Mahjoub, and the Secretary General of Sudan’s National Council for the Welfare of Children, Osman Shaiba. Both of these leaders discussed with Elder Bednar their concerns about families in Sudan and the challenges families face, including the plight of orphans and unwed mothers.

The current government of Sudan is working hard to overcome the challenges Sudan has faced in the past and to take care of its citizens and refugees, according to the General Commissioner of the Humanitarian Aid Commission, Abass Fadelallah Ali. Commissioner Abass oversees the administration of humanitarian relief for the Sudanese government.

“Latter-day Saint Charities has supported humanitarian efforts in Sudan for many years,” Elder Bednar told Commissioner Abass. “We will continue to look for opportunities to partner with local organizations to help those in need in Sudan.”

Freedom of religion was a key point of discussion during a meeting with the Minister of Religious Affairs, Nasr-Eddin Mofarah Ahmed Mohamed, who expressed the importance of religious tolerance in Sudan. Elder Bednar told Minister Mohamed that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a strong supporter of freedom of religion and expressed his gratitude for the minister’s efforts to support the rights of believers of all faiths.

The Latter-day Saint party participated in a dinner with members of the Sudan Church Council, including priests and bishops from the Anglican Church, Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox Church. The leaders discussed the fact that Sudan has a long history of coexistence between Christians, Jews and Muslims. Elder Bednar also met with the Sufi Religious Council, where there were expressions of support for all people and a general denouncing of religious extremism.

“There was a genuine spirit of friendship and welcome among these leaders,” Elder Bednar said.

Former Prime Minister Sadig al-Mahdi shared with Elder Bednar some of the history of Sudan and the role of his great-grandfather, Muhammad Ahmad, who was a highly revered leader in the 19th century. Mr. al-Mahdi says that it is crucial for the country to learn from the past and unify the Sudanese people and contribute to reforms.

“The Republic of Sudan has a bright future,” Elder Bednar said. “We felt a close kinship with the people of Sudan and were impressed with everyone we met. Sudan has many challenges, but these dedicated leaders are working hard to build up the country during this historic time.”

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