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May 19, 2006
Contact: John J. Bricke, professor of philosophy, (785) 864-3976.

Essay on genocide in Sudan wins KUís Whitcomb Prize for Hill City senior

LAWRENCE — An essay on genocide in Sudan by Sridhar P. Reddy, graduating senior in English at the University of Kansas, has won the Philip W. Whitcomb Memorial Essay Prize.

John J. Bricke, KU professor of philosophy and a member of the prize selection committee, said Reddy’s essay, “Witnesses to Genocide: The Tragedy of Sudan,” clearly addresses the Whitcomb contest’s theme of “the relationship of knowledge, thought and action in public affairs and public policy.”

Bricke added that Reddy skillfully combines a historically informed account of the concept of genocide with a critique of efforts to resist that concept’s application in the case of Darfur and a compelling examination of the moral, political and practical, including military, questions that the Darfur situation raises.

The prize includes a $500 cash award, a book and the inscription of the winner’s name on the Whitcomb plaque in the Nunemaker Center at KU. The award ceremony will be in September in Nunemaker Center.

Reddy said his essay is part of his individual effort to increase awareness of the Sudanese genocide with the hope of pressuring U.S. officials to do more to end the conflict. Information on genocide, contacting officials and contributing aid to help with the crisis may be obtained by contacting Reddy at rsridhar@hotmail.com.

His inspiration for the essay began with attending a lecture at KU last fall by Samantha Power, a Harvard University professor and 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Reddy bought her book at the lecture. Power’s book and others provided background for his essay.

Reddy plans to enter KU School of Medicine next fall with a goal of specializing in oncology. He is the son of Dr. P.J. and Nalini Reddy of Hill City and is a Hill City High School graduate. His previous honors include a Dane G. Hansen Scholarship and induction into the KU chapters of Mortar Board and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies.

The contest honors Philip W. Whitcomb (1891-1986), who earned a doctorate in philosophy at age 89 at KU in 1981. A journalist by trade, Whitcomb received a bachelor’s degree in 1910 from Washburn University and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University from 1911 to 1914. His career as a European journalist spanned 64 years and 17 countries. As an Associated Press correspondent, he covered the first and second world wars. He also was a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, New York Tribune and Boston Evening Transcript. Upon his retirement from the Christian Science Monitor in 1978, he entered KU’s Graduate School.

Whitcomb’s dissertation was titled “Essence and Existence in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas, Giles of Rome and Francisco Suarez.” For part of his time at KU, he was a graduate teaching assistant in Western civilization. He died in Paris in 1986 at age 94.

The Philip W. Whitcomb Memorial Essay Contest has taken place annually since 1988. It is open to any undergraduate at KU, and past winners have come from engineering, English, philosophy, architectural engineering, anthropology, mathematics and other subject areas.

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