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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Juba Lecture Series

The Project

Since 2010, the RVI has organized an annual series of public lectures at the University of Juba. These lectures are designed to promote public discussion of emerging political and cultural issues in South Sudan. The lectures are co-hosted with the Centre for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba. Past lecture topics have included law, citizenship, culture, and nationhood.

The Juba University Lecture series has been supported by the Danish Institute of International Affairs (DIIS) and by the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa.

20-24 November 2017: Cultures of Dialogue: Local and national experiences in South Sudan

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.

21-23 June 2016: What Can Civil Society Do? The Role of Civil Society in the Political Transition

The fifth Rift Valley Institute Juba Lecture Series sought to answer questions concerning the role of civil society, including: What does the experience of working towards the peace agreement of August 2015, and the subsequent efforts to form the TGoNU, tell us about civil society in South Sudan?  What can we learn from the historic engagement of civil society in peace building? How can the different civil society elements, NGOs, traditional authority leaders, and churches, work together? A panel of academics, activists, the church, chiefs and press discussed the nature of civil society in South Sudan and its past and future place in the public sphere in a series of public lectures at the Catholic University of South Sudan. Over three evenings the panelists and an audience of students, and members of the public and government, focused on specific institutions, including NGOs, churches and customary authorities, with a concluding discussion that explored the relationship between them.

22-24 October 2014: Negotiating Peace in South Sudan

The 2014 lectures examined three historic peace agreements and their implications for the current peace negotiations in South Sudan: the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, the Wunlit Peace and Reconciliation Conference of 1999, and the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Speakers included Dr Douglas Johnson, Dr Lam Akol, Dr Alfred Lokuji, David Deng, John Ashworth, Dr Julia Duany, Naomi Pendle, Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban, and Oliver Batali Albino—one of the last surviving negotiators of the Addis Ababa Agreeement. The lectures attracted an audience of several hundred students and members of the public.

6-8 March 2013: Making the Constitution

The lectures in 2013 discussed progress on the permanent constitution of South Sudan. Speakers included Akolda Ma’an Tier, Jok Madut Jok, Zachariah Diing Akol, Henry Swaka, Marcia Dawes, Jacob Akol, Joanna Oyediran, Paleki Matthew Obur, Ben Lou Poggo, David Deng, Merekaje Lorna, Gabriel Shadar and Ambrose Riiny Thiik. An edited transcript of the discussions was published as My Mother Will Not Come to Juba.

2-3 June 2011: Culture and Nation

The 2011 lecture series, held over two evenings at the University of Juba, focused on the subject of ‘Culture and the Nation in South Sudan’. The lectures were introduced by Prof Aggrey Abate, Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba. Speakers included John Ryle, Jok Madut Jok, Cherry Leonardi, Derik Uya Alfred, Alfred Lokuji, Peter Woodward, Joanna Oyediran, HE Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba, HE Dr Priscilla Kuc Joseph, John Akec, Leben Moro, and Youssef Onyalla. Several hundred students, members of the public, aid workers, and civil servants attended the event.

21-23 June 2010: History and Politics

The 2010 lectures focused on ‘Current issues in Sudanese History and Politics’. The programme featured Douglas Johnson, Edward Thomas, Alfred Lokuji, Wendy James, Cherry Leonardi, Jérôme Tubiana, Daniel Akau, Jok Madut Jok, Nasredeen Abdelbari, Joanna Oyediran, and Sirisio Oromo. The discussion covered a range of topics including legal reform in the South, the North-South borderlands, electoral processes, the economic future of the region, and the role of China in Africa. The lectures were attended by several hundred students, members of the public, aid workers, civil servants, and several senior South Sudanese politicians.

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