The Rift Valley Institute is pleased to announce the sixth Juba Lecture Series under the theme of ‘Cultures of Dialogue: Local and national experiences in South Sudan’. The lectures will take place on 22, 23 and 24 November 2017, in partnership with the Institute for Justice and Peace Studies (IJPS) at the Catholic University of South Sudan in Juba. The lectures are organized with support from the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa.
Since 2010, the RVI has organized an annual series of public lectures in Juba, designed to promote public discussion around important political and cultural issues in South Sudan. The 2017 lectures will seek to bring together religious and civil society actors, political representatives and academics to discuss diverse historical and present-day dialogue practices at a local, national and global level. They will explore the interconnections and divergences between diverse South Sudanese forms and experiences of dialogue, from communal to local church-led as well as civil society processes and government initiated dialogue at a national-level. The aim of the event is to better understand the role of dialogue in peace-building; state-society relations; and memory production—drawing on lessons learned from both South Sudan and beyond.
Over the past decades, a wide range of political, humanitarian and civil society actors have come to see national dialogue initiatives and truth-telling commissions as part of the path towards peaceful political transitions, and has been widely adopted into the tool box of conflict resolution mechanisms. South Sudan has a long history of communal and politicomilitary dialogues. The 1999 and 2000 Church-led People-to-People Peace Processes form an important example of community dialogue and demonstrates that there are existing experiences with dialogue processes in times of ongoing armed violence.
In December 2016, President Salva Kiir announced the South Sudan National Dialogue and positioned the process within global discourses that view national dialogue as a pursuit of ‘national unity’ and the reconstitution of ‘national consensus.’ The 2017 RVI Juba Lectures will explore how these national objectives differ from and can draw on past and present socio-cultural and community dialogue mechanisms.
22 November: South Sudanese socio-cultural dialogue mechanisms
23 November: Church and civil society-led community dialogue initiatives
24 November: National-level dialogue processes
RVI will publish an open-access record of the event. Please also see reports on the 2016 lecture on the role of civil society, the 2014 lectures on the lessons of historic peace agreements, and the 2013 lectures on the constitution. All RVI publications are free for download in PDF format under Creative Commons licences.