Tribute to John Granville and Abdel Rahman Abbas

Our U.S. Government colleagues, John Granville and Abdel Rahman Abbas Rahama, were killed by gunmen in Khartoum on January 1, 2008. Mr. Granville and Mr. Abbas represented the highest ideals of the United States Government. They were dedicated to bringing peace and stability to Sudan. This is a tribute to them and commemoration of their work to build a better future for Sudan.

Abdel Rahman Abbas, 39, was born in Juba, Sudan. He began his USAID career in 2004 as one of the original members of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team for Darfur, Sudan. He was hired as a driver for the USAID/Sudan mission in Khartoum in 2005. Those who worked with him knew that no matter where they were, no matter what time it was, and no matter how demanding the task was, that if they called Abdel Rahman, he would be there for them as a reliable, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and true partner. A colleague said he was “somebody that you can’t miss knowing” because of how sociable and caring he was.

John Granville, 33, was from Buffalo, New York. He had worked on USAID democracy and governance programs in Sudan for more than three years, helping distribute thousands of solar-powered radios to southern Sudan, a region isolated by more than two decades of war, to inform citizens of their rights and help them prepare for elections. To him, radios were more than just a tool of information. They were a means of belonging, sources of empowerment, and perhaps the beginnings of peace. He spent the most time of anyone on his small team traveling around Sudan so that he could build relationships with people from all walks of life. John served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon from 1997 to 1999 and received a Fulbright fellowship thereafter to conduct independent research in Cameroon.

USAID established the Granville-Rahama Staff Care Award, which recognizes USAID employees who make significant contributions to the morale and well-being of agency staff.

We lovingly remember our colleagues and hope that their dreams of a better future for Sudan come to fruition.