Catholic Bishop in South Sudan to Receive 2017 United Religions Initiative Africa Peace Award
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 18 September 2017
Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban of the Catholic diocese of Torit in South Sudan will this week be awarded the 2017 Africa Peace Award of the United Religions Initiative (URI) in recognition of his “outstanding work in promoting a culture of peace, interfaith harmony, cultural values, human dignity, human rights and promoting solidarity on common good for all.”
The Bishop will be presented the award this Thursday, September 21 at All Saints Cathedral in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
The award was announced in a letter by the Regional Director of URI for Africa, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, dated April 5, 2017.
“URI-Africa established the Africa Peace Award to recognize the committed, effective leadership exercised to bring sustainable peace, environmental protection, development, democracy and good leadership in the continent,” Ambassador Hailu explained in his letter to Bishop Taban.
Bishop Taban’s “visionary and extraordinary leadership and great contribution” in founding the Holy Trinity Kuron Peace Village was also considered in identifying him for the 2017 award.
Bishop Paride, 81, founded the Kuron Peace Village in the year 2000, an entity that seemed to realize his dream “of a community where people with different ethnicities and different religious backgrounds can live side by side with confidence, in harmony and fellowship.”
He retired as Bishop of Torit in February 2004 and has since then focused his energies on peacebuilding in South Sudan.
Situated in the former Eastern Equatoria State on the southeast border of South Sudan, Kuron Peace Village is guided by the vision: “To build Oasis of Peace where communities live in full harmony exploring their full potential to transform their lives/their villages i.e. form a true Sudan” and the mission: “To improve economic wellbeing of all communities as well as evangelization/spiritual life.”
On his 80th birthday in July 2016, Bishop Taban shared his message of PEACE from Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura where he had gone to spread “the message of good news on nonviolence and peace.”
According to Ambassador Hailu, URI-Africa Peace Award was initiated in 2007 in view of helping “create role models of peace-builders throughout Africa.”
The award is given anuually “to distinguished African leaders, individuals and organizations who are doing exemplary work.”
Below is the full text of the letter by the Regional Director of URI for Africa to Bishop Taban
UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE-AFRICA
April 5, 2017
Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban
Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron
Eastern Equatorial, South Sudan
c/o Catholic Arch-Diocese of Juba
Dear Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban,
RE: PRESENTING YOU THE 2017 AFRICA PEACE AWARD OF URI – AFRICA
On behalf of 200 member organizations of United Religions Initiative from 31 African Countries I present warm greetings of peace to you and to your community at the Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron
We have been following with great interest your initiative in establishing Kuron Peace Village, an organisation that promotes peace between different South Sudanese ethnic groups and offers training in basic farming techniques. We also noticed very well your outstanding work in promoting a culture of peace, interfaith harmony, cultural values, human dignity, human rights and promoting solidarity on common good for all.
As I indicated to you during our meeting in Kenya and South Africa it is my great pleasure to inform you that United Religions Initiative (URI) - Africa have decided to honour you with the Africa Peace Award of 2017.
The Prestigious Africa Peace Award of URI-Africa will be presented to you in appreciation and acknowledgment of your tireless work in promoting a culture of peace, inter-religious & inter-cultural harmony, constructive dialogue among civilization, reconciliation, social justice, and for being a living example of the teaching of the Golden Rule which says “Treat others the way you want to be treated”.
The award is also in acknowledgment of your visionary and extraordinary leadership and great contribution as the founding of Kuron Peace Village, an organisation that promotes peace between different South Sudanese ethnic groups and offers training in basic farming techniques.
URI-Africa established the Africa Peace Award to recognize the committed, effective leadership exercised to bring sustainable peace, environmental protection, development, democracy and good leadership in the continent.
The Africa Peace Award celebrates, acknowledges and honours the accomplishments of individuals or organizations who have exhibited extraordinary leadership to build a culture of peace, environmental preservation, reconciliation and harmony among different religions and cultures and promote the universal declaration of human right and bring overall positive change in peoples life.
The Award helps to create role models of peace-builders throughout Africa. Since its establishment in 2007 URI-Africa have been giving the award ever year to distinguished African leaders, individuals and organizations who are doing exemplary work. For more information on the Africa Peace Award and the past recipients of the award I send you enclosed with this letter background information.
I am happy to inform you that URI Africa join hands with the United Nations and African Union to bring religious leaders, faith-based and interfaith organizations in Africa to work together toward conflict resolution, peace-building, environmental protection, addressing the issue of climate change, counter violent extremism, radicalization, terrorism and promoting reconciliation and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa. It is working in creating awareness toward the achievement of the African Agenda 2063 to build the Africa we want which is peaceful, prosperous and united.
URI is interfaith Peace organization with Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and it is working to promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, healing and justice for the Earth and all living beings. Through its 175 member organizations in 31 African countries URI-Africa is cultivating peaceful co-existence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the environment.
The vision of URI-Africa is to see united, prosperous and peaceful Africa where there is no religious strife. URI –Africa has signed Memorandum of Understating with African Union Commission, IGAD, Regional Centre against Small Arms and lights Weapons and African Media Initiative.
Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban I invite you to receive this award as noted above and looking forward to receiving your confirmation.
May Peace Prevail in Africa
In Peace and gratitude,
Ambassador Mussie Hailu
Regional Director of URI for Africa and
Representative of URI at AUC, IGAD, UNECA&UN Office in Africa