Kuron Peace Village was founded by Bishop Paride Taban to unite the population in the area and set an example of peaceful cohabitation in war-torn South Sudan.
Kuron Peace Village is situated in Eastern Equatoria State, on the southeast border of South Sudan. Different ethnic groups live and work together in the village. This is unique in a country caught up in civil war. Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban* (1936) voiced his vision when he founded Kuron around the year 2000: “I have been dreaming of a community where people with different ethnicities and different religious backgrounds can live side by side with confidence, in harmony and fellowship.”
The idea for a peace village came to the Bishop in the 1990s when he visited Neve Shalom in Israel, a place where Jews and Palestinians live together peacefully. In 2000 a bridge was built over the river Kuron with help from the Netherlands. The years thereafter Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron was founded. Nowadays, a few dozen people from different origins are working in the health centre and primary school they set up with the Bishop. Others are introducing new modes of agricultural production, and are engaged in peacebuilding, together with the local community. Peace is promoted through dialogue, traditional conflict resolution and inclusive conflict transformation. Sports and theatre are used to raise community awareness, while cross-border exchanges enable warriors and chiefs to learn from practices in peacebuilding and local governance in Uganda and Kenya.
See also our visual story about bishop Paride Taban and the foundation of the Kuron Peace Village (in Dutch): Bishop Paride Taban wins Four Freedoms Award
PAX supports Kuron Peace Village in facilitating dialogue between communities. Kuron has established local peace committees and is training them to monitor peace and security in the region and discuss and tackle cause and consequences of inter-communal and gender-related violence.
Aside to dialogue with the local population, Kuron engages in dialogue with authorities, with assistance from PAX. A good example of a dialogue on a higher level is the 2014 peace agreement between the rebel faction of David Yau Yau in Jonglei province and the South Sudanese government.
Kuron also promotes peace and development through the use of sports and theatre. Sports and theatre form creative means for raising awareness and opening discussion about local problems, such as gender-based violence, cattle raiding and alcoholism. In addition, sports unite former enemies and offer young warriors a non-violent alternative and an organised form of competition to prove their valour.
*) Bishop Paride Taban
Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban (1936) is the founder of Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron. Kuron is a beacon of peace within the conflict-ridden country of South Sudan. The bishop has dedicated his whole life to the promotion of dialogue and development in South Sudan, as well as across the border in Uganda and Kenya. In his struggle for peace he has not hesitated to tell the truth to political leaders and local warlords.
In 2013 he received the UN Sergio Vieira de Mello-peace prize for his exceptional commitment to reconciling different communities in South Sudan. He has been closely involved in the peace agreement between the government of South Sudan and the David Yau Yau-rebel group signed in May 2014.
On May 16th 2018 Bishop Paride Taban received the Freedom of Worship Award, one of the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards. The Four Freedoms Awards are presented each year to men and women whose achievements have demonstrated a commitment to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
See also the Four Freedoms nomination biography of Paride Taban and visual story about Paride Taban and the foundation of the Kuron Peace Village (in Dutch): Bishop Paride Taban wins Four Freedoms Award