South Sudanese Bishop Paride Taban will receive the Freedom of Worship Award, one of the Four Freedoms Awards presented every other year in Middelburg, the Netherlands.
Han Polman, Chairman of the Roosevelt Foundation, announced today that Bishop Taban will receive the award for his extraordinary efforts toward bringing peace to war-torn South Sudan. The Four Freedoms Award is one of the most prestigious awards recognizing work defending fundamental human rights. Earlier recipients include Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Malala Yousafzai and Angela Merkel.
Beacon of hope
Bishop Taban is a beacon of hope to millions of people in South Sudan and beyond. He is a rare figure in a fractured country, someone who has excellent contact with leaders on all sides and is not afraid to call them to account. He discusses the road to peace with government leaders as well as leaders of armed groups. Bishop Taban has been actively involved in peace work for more than 60 years. At one point, he was held by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (when they were still freedom fighters) because they disapproved of his work.
Kuron Peace Village
When Bishop Taban retired from his official role in the church, he founded Kuron Peace Village in 2005 in Eastern Equatoria, a thinly populated area in the southeast of the country. Here, far from the unrest, young people and community leaders learn how to live peacefully together and acquire skills in how to resolve conflict. They bring these skills with them when they return to their communities.
The Dutch peacebuilding organization PAX helped establish the Kuron peace village and remains active in an advisory role with the peace work in the village and in supporting local peace committees.
The Four Freedoms Awards
The Four Freedoms Awards are presented each year to men and women whose achievements have demonstrated a commitment to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
The other 2018 laureates are environmental activist Christiana Figueres Olsen from Costa Rica (International Award), Turkish journalist Erol Önderoglu (Freedom of Expression), Belgian activist Emmanuel de Merode (Freedom from Want) for his work in Congo, and the Nepalese Urmila Chaudhary (Freedom from Fear) for her work against child slavery.
The awards are presented in the Netherlands by the Roosevelt Foundation to non-American laureates in even-numbered years, and in Hyde Park, New York, by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute to Americans in odd-numbered years. The Roosevelt Foundation and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute work to inspire people to promote the four freedoms, everywhere in the world.
This year’s awards will be presented in Middelburg on May 16th.