Sunday, January 16, 2011

Will the world have country #195?

It appears that the world is about to welcome a new country.  As this is written the results of a vote on a  referendum on splitting Sudan into two autonomous countries are being counted. A process that began in 2005 ending Sudan’s civil war is concluding and the world is likely to add one more country, number 194 (Today there are 194 countries without including Taiwan). While the vote count will not be final until February early polling indicates that the south will split from the north.

Think about what it means to create, organize, lead a brand new country. Consider the multitude of complex, historic decisions to be made. The acting government in the south, known as the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, has established much of the framework of a new country.  However, their work will continue and expand if the voters confirm the split.  There will be more laws to be put in place.   Public safety, health, welfare and educational systems must be managed.  But operating systems, infrastructure aren’t the only matters that need to be addressed. 

What will the country be called?  What will it’s flag look like and what song will be the national anthem inspiring its people?    According to the site Nation Branding a country having the opportunity to consider and select a name is an unusual opportunity.  Their article tells us that names often arrive “accidentally” by reference to a local word or physical characteristic of the area.  But today if Southern Sudan becomes a new country, it has the opportunity to name itself, to create its image (brand).

The government will be tasked with defining its role in the world, deciding how to relate to its population, neighbors, friends and former enemies.   At the same time they must design a flag and select the national colors.  Each decision will make a statement about this fledging country.
What an amazing responsibility and how interesting for all of us observing the transition.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job – your usual insightful & erudite approach to a subject. You pose interesting & thought-provoking questions. I hope we can look forward to a follow-up article with your thoughts on how well they’ve learned from the successes (& perhaps more importantly, the failures) of the 194 nations that have come before them.

Dave Jordan
Schaumburg, IL