Omer Ismail was born in El Fashir, Western Sudan. After graduating from Khartoum University, he worked as a research assistant for Dr. Mansour Khalid, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Sudan. In 1988, he became the Operations Manager for the United Nations Operation Life Line Sudan, the largest relief operation at that time. He fled Sudan after the National Islamic Front (NIF) took power in 1989, and has since lived as a refugee in the United States. From 1992 to 1994, he worked with the United Nations in Somalia. In Washington, D.C. he helped found the Sudan Democratic Forum, a think tank of Sudanese intellectuals working for advancement of democracy in Sudan. He is the spokesperson for The Darfur Union, an advocacy group, and he is the co-founder of Darfur Peace and Development. Omer’s organization, Darfur Peace and Development, which is based in Washington and Darfur, helped prepare the reports that led to the unprecedented testimony delivered by Colin Powell on 9 September 2004 to the Senate that declared that the situation in Darfur was genocide. He is currently a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.