News & views | 30 October 2019 | by guest blogger0
Human Security Survey South Sudan Coordinator John Malith Mabor reflects on speaking tour in Europe
The week of 23-29 October was the annual Peace Week held in The Netherlands and Belgium, in which traditionally more emphasis is put on the work that peacebuilding organizations like PAX, or our sister organization Pax Christi Flanders in Belgium, are doing by giving presentations and lectures to student organizations and other constituencies across the country. One of the most notable speakers this year was John Malith Mabor, who came over from Juba, South Sudan, for a speaking tour covering both countries, in which he spoke about his work for the Human Security Survey and his personal role in the peace process between local Dinka and Nuer communities in the border area from Eastern Lakes and Southern Unity.
What was the reason you were invited to the Belgian Peace Week?
“PAX Christi Flanders, a Belgium-based peace organization, invited me through PAX Netherlands to participate in the Flemish peace week that was running from the week of 23rd– 30th September 2019, an idea I greatly appreciated. I was asked to share with the Belgian public about our work in South Sudan, and how it contributes to peace.”
What is the added value to bringing peace builders from the field to Belgium to present their work?
“I believe peacebuilding in Africa or in South Sudan in particular is similar to peacebuilding around the globe. I do also believe that the world is like a human body, so that a small hurt or wound at the toe or finger brings pain to the whole body. African problems might become world problems, for example the migration issue that is a concern in Europe, and that is caused by conflicts in Africa. Would there have been desperate journeys if Africans were living in peace in their home countries? Therefore it is important to present an African perspective.”
What did you wanted to share with the Belgian public?
“Through our Human Security Survey as a project and my personal testimony on a mediation role that I have played while being a Survey Coordinator to bring about intercommunal dialogue among the local conflicting communities in South Sudan, I wanted to speak about how we work there. In five cities I have presented our HSS work and the extent to which it contributed to the upholding of peaceful relationship between the Nuer of Payinjiar and the Dinka of Yirol, together with our local partners.”
How did you personally experience touring The Netherlands and Belgium tour? What was your highlight of the week?
“My first visit was to the two cities of Ghent and Bruges; I really loved the cities and the road network that exists between them. During my tour of Antwerp, I visited the Cathedral of Our Lady, another historical building which construction they said took 169 years. It was described as the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. I was gazing at the interior of the Cathedral, and believed the building was an iconic asset, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by an art hero Rubens.”
How did the Belgian public respond to you generally and what was your impressions of the events and discussions that were organized?
“The Belgian people paid much attention to my personal story, and my story was also covered by MO, an online Belgian magazine, that interviewed me. As a result I received positive responses by way of appreciation, people asking follow up questions and giving comments. They shared words of encouragement to continue with the good work and that if we could extend or expand to more locations in South Sudan, we would yield a bigger impact.”
Photos: Pax Christi Flanders
- Read the interview by MO* magazine (in Dutch) with John Malith Mabor
- Click here for more information on the John Malith Mabor speaking tour organized by Pax Christi Flanders
- Read here more about the Human Security Survey in South Sudan