2023 PAX Dove Winners announced

Image: Jesse-Ze Soepnel

September 21, 2023

Peace organization PAX celebrates special peace initiatives and activists with the presentation of the PAX Doves Awards. The PAX Doves are awarded to people who take risks by providing direct assistance, writing articles, engaging in politics, or taking action.

“The daily news is filled with stories of war and violence,” says PAX director Rolien Sasse. “And while it’s crucial that we hear these stories, we should not forget stories of hope. Stories of people who bring about change, on a large scale, and on a small scale. That’s why we want to give these stories a platform.”

The winners of the PAX Doves 2023

  • Bureau Burgerberaad
  • Human rights advocate Mpanzu Bamenga
  • ‘Creation activist’ Rozemarijn van ‘t Einde
  • Sahar Shirzad, co-founder of the collective Azadi

The International PAX Dove is awarded to South Sudanese peace worker John Malith Mabor.

The winners will receive the award during the PAX 75th Anniversary Event at the Domkerk on September 21. They were selected by a professional jury consisting of Enis Odaci, a publicist, speaker, and Islamic expert; Wielie Elhorst, an LGBTQIA pastor; Chantal Suissa-Runne, a writer, moderator, speaker, trainer, and process facilitator; and Devika Partiman, director of Stem op een Vrouw and a former PAX Dove winner.

This year the people could for vote the PAX Dove Peoples Award. The winner of this special award will be announced during the PAX Anniversary Event.

PAX-director Rolien Sasse congratulated John Malith Mabos with the award:

First of all we want to extend my congratulations to our colleague John Malith Mabor, who was awarded the International PAX Peace Dove today by an external jury! An incredible achievement and so well deserved. 

The award has been granted to him for showing extraordinary courage when he, as a Dinka young man from Yirol, traveled across the border into opposition territory, to the Nuer of Payinjiar, at a time when these communities were embroiled in conflict, hostility and distrust for many years, following the outbreak of war in the country in 2013. He did this as PAX staff, in order to present survey data from the PAX Human Security Survey. However, after he exposed himself as a Dinka, the data presentation came to a sudden halt and everyone wanted to know why he had come there. Next they put him to work to write down all the grievances they had with the Dinka community. They made him a peace diplomat, from that moment onwards shuttling between the two communities to verify what were the main issues that needed to be addressed in any future peace agreement. John’s own fear and doubts were pushed aside as there was an important job to do to bring the communities together! 

Of course John did not single-handedly achieve the final peace agreement that came out of this process only by himself. The peace between Dinka and Nuer was a group effort, spearheaded by our local partner AMA who has been working for many years in both communities. It required hard work and courage on the part of local administrators, the chiefs who signed the first agreement, the church leaders, and also many colleagues at PAX throughout the years. But its John’s daring trip to the ‘the other side’ and his steadfastness and loyalty to the people, that cleared many obstacles leading to the first peace conference, which led to the signing of the agreement that is still in place today, 5 years later.

Please join us in congratulating John with this achievement and with the Peace Dove that will be awarded to him tonight!

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