Two Nobel laureates, Jane Fonda among honorary coaches for Michael J. Sharp memorial Kilimanjaro trekkers

Two Nobel Prize laureates, a famous actress and activist, a Fortune 500 CEO, a playwright and an investigative journalist — all have signed on as honorary coaches in support of the March 4-15  trek up Kilimanjaro that honors the life and legacy of slain United Nations armed group expert M.J. Sharp ‘05.

Eleven hikers will make the journey, summiting Kilimanjaro on the second anniversary of Sharp’s disappearance. They hope to celebrate and honor his life, as well as raise awareness about the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and support a fundraising drive for a scholarship in Sharp’s name that supports Congolese peacebuilders studying at CJP.

More than $42,585 has been raised. Visit the MJ Dream Hike website to view hiker profiles and sponsor a hiker.

These honorary coaches and other supporters, including Sharp’s family and friends, will share inspirational messages during the March 5-14 journey on the MJ Dream hike Facebook page. “Like” or “follow” this page to be among the first to see new content.

Jane Fonda, the veteran actress with a widely followed blog and social media presence,  pledged her support with a Feb. 10 post announcing her appeal to help promote stability, gender equality and social justice in conflict zones.

She tells Sharp’s story, honors the work of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, and urges readers to follow the trek and contribute to the training of people from countries in conflict.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and Leymah Gbowee, 2011 recipient and a 2007 CJP graduate, have also confirmed their support. Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist and Pentecostal pastor. He founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been raped by armed rebels. Gbowee led a nationwide women’s movement that was instrumental in halting Liberia’s second civil war in 2003, and has since worked to build the influence of women in West Africa.

Other supporters include:

  • Sonia Rolley is the Africa Service Reporter for Radio France Internationale. She met M.J. Sharp in Africa. Her Twitter handle is @soniarolley
  • Eve Ensler is an American playwright, performer, feminist, and activist. She is the creator of  V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls.
  • Greg Brenneman, who shares Sharp’s hometown of Hesston, Kansas, and has hiked Kilimanjaro, is chairman of CCMP Capital, an American private equity firm. He was previously the corporate leader of Quizno’s and more recently, Burger King.
  • Maria Morseley is the mother of Zaida Catalán, a fellow U.N. armed group expert murdered with Sharp.

Honor MJ and support peacebuilders!

The Michael J. Sharp Peace & Justice Endowed Scholarship at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is designed for citizens of the DRC to study the conflict transformation, restorative justice and peacebuilding skills needed bring lasting change to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thus carrying on MJ’s legacy long after his death.
You can help! A gift of any size can be sent to EMU at 1200 Park Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22802 or online at emu.edu/dream-hike. Give a portion of an RMD from your IRA! Pledge forms are also available. If you have questions on how best to give a gift, call 800-368-3383 and ask for Braydon Hoover.

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