Bishop Paride Taban was born in 1936 and was ordained as a priest in 1964. Bishop Taban was Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Torit in Republic of South Sudan from 1983-2004, and was a co-founder of the New Sudan Council of Churches. During his two decades as bishop, he provided leadership in the midst of the most difficult circumstances of Sudan’s civil war—the world’s longest civil war that took the lives of two million people. As bishop, he was a spokesperson and advocate for the people of the Republic of the South Sudan, bringing food to the starving and traveling the world to secure additional relief.
After his retirement in 2004, he moved from Torit to a remote area in the Republic of Sudan and in 2005 founded the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron, a place where people of different ethnicities and faiths live together. The Peace Village endeavors through education and demonstration farming to help people in Republic of South Sudan become self sufficient. It emphasizes the education of girls, but also provides classes for boys and adults. The school and farm intentionally bring people of different ethnic groups together in an attempt to promote trust and dialogue among the many neighboring ethnic groups. Bishop Taban calls the village a “small oasis of peace” in a country torn by ethnic and religious violence and hopes “to make the Republic of Sudan a nation where people live as brothers and sisters, different religions living as people of God.” For this work, and a lifetime as an exemplary witness for peace, Bishop Taban was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and on March 1, 2013, was awarded the Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
John Ashworth is a consultant to Catholic Relief Services on the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of the South Sudan and an advisor to Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has devoted the past 30 years to peace-building and advocacy efforts in northern and Republic of South Sudan. He was born in the United Kingdom in 1954 and first came to Africa in 1976, teaching science for two years in Idi Amin’s Uganda. After training as a Catholic priest in the United Kingdom, he arrived in Republic of South Sudan in April 1983, one month before the civil war began. He lived and worked there for the next nine years.
His pastoral ministry took him to churches, mosques, schools, prisons, barracks, and hospitals in north and south Sudan, and he was involved in humanitarian aid both in the south and amongst the displaced people in the shanty towns of Omdurman and Khartoum. John left Sudan in 1992, obtained a masters of arts in spirituality from Gonzaga University, and moved on from the institutional priesthood. He then returned to Sudan as director of Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan, a church-based humanitarian aid organization working in Republic of South Sudan, and serves as peace and justice advisor to various churches and agencies in the Republic of Sudan, including Catholic Relief Services and Pax Christi.
Among other tasks, Ashworth provides an Internet service circulating information and analysis on the Republic of Sudan, and has taken a keen interest in transitional and restorative justice. Ashworth is currently the Kroc-Catholic Relief Services Fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he is writing a book on peace-building in the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of the South Sudan.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Marian University Theatre
Bishop Paride Taban
Bishop Emeritus, Catholic Diocese of Torit, Republic of Sudan, nominee for Nobel Prize for Peace and recipient of the 2013 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize
Kroc-Catholic Relief Services Fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and an advisor to the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference