Can unity be reclaimed in South Sudan?

• Nation under focus as it commemorates her 3rd independence anniversary

By Our Reporter.

Can unity be reclaimed in South Sudan? This will be the topic under discussion in Addis Ababa on Wednesday as the country celebrates its 3rd independence anniversary. Oxfam an international aid organization is to host panel discussion on future of world’s youngest country. Oxfam says that after decades of fighting, many hoped that the independent South Sudan established 9 July 2011 would not see another conflict. However the fighting that broke out in Juba on 15 December 2013 has quickly spread across the country. Now, over six months on, almost 1.5 million people have fled their homes for fear of their own lives. As the country marks its Independence Day, Oxfam is asking whether the sense of unity that brought South Sudanese people together in 2011 can be regained.

Is there hope for peace and reconciliation in this war-torn country, or is it destined to become the world’s youngest failed state? A short documentary featuring South Sudanese musicians Bior, Nyaruach, Emmanuel Jal, as well as Kenyan Eric Wainaina and Ugandan Daisy Hope Ejang examining how music can play a role in influencing for peace will be shown, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading South Sudanese thinkers.

The event will be moderated by James Copnall, former BBC correspondent for the Sudans and author of ‘A Poisonous Thorn in our Heart: Sudan and South Sudan’s Bitter and Incomplete Divorce.’
The Panellists will include David Deng a research Director for the South Sudan Law Society, an organisation that strives for justice in society and respect for human rights and the rule of law. Jok Madut Jok – Cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States and recently joined the Government of South Sudan as an undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan.

Dr Julia Duany – Currently Vice Chancellor of John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology (Bor), she has served as the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and research associate at Indiana University, USA. Dr. Duany went to the United States as a refugee and founded the South Sudan Friends International (SSFI), an advocacy and technical assistance organization that supports grassroots communities in self-help and reconciliation projects. Edmund Yakani –

Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Process Organisation, a South Sudanese organisation aiming to strengthen and promote the capability and capacity of society members towards development through self reliance and genuine intervention. It will also feature Nyanuer William Nyuon – founder of Women Cry for Peace, a collective of South Sudanese women speaking out against the conflict and the causes/impact of the conflict.