The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) launched its Sudanese & South Sudanese Youth Leaders program in 2013. The program brings Sudanese and South Sudanese peacebuilders between ages 18 and 35 to Washington, DC to be in residence at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) for four months. The goal of the project is to support youth to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to further their peacebuilding work and position themselves as stronger peacebuilding agents in their communities. USIP will bring one Sudanese and one South Sudanese leader in the spring of 2016 and another two leaders in the fall of 2016.


Previous youth leaders have done projects related to religious peacebuilding, the role of women in conflict and peace, and the role of media in peacebuilding, analyses of the roots of local conflict. Youth leaders spend the majority of their fellowships doing individual research, attending meetings with USIP staff, and participating in events in the D.C. area.

Current Youth Leaders


Francis Banychieng Jor is a 2017 Youth Leader in the Sudan and South Sudan Youth Leaders program at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). During his time at the Institute, Francis will work on a self-led research project on “the Promotion of Gender Equality and Inclusiveness” in the context of South Sudan. He strongly believes in empowering young men and women to play critical roles and actively participate in peacebuilding efforts. Mr. Jor holds a Bachelor’s degree in education, specializing in English and Literature from the University of Bahr el Ghazal, Sudan. He fluently speaks Nuer, Arabic and English.



Ajing Chol Giir is a 2017 South Sudanese Youth Leader in the Sudan and South Sudan Youth Leaders program at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Ajing is working on a self-led research project to explore the role of “Sports and Cultural Dialogue” in peacebuilding and reconciliation in the context of South Sudan. Mr. Giir holds a diploma in business administration from Dima college in Nairobi, Kenya. He fluently speaks Dinka, English, Kiswahili and Arabic.



The application for the 2016 youth leaders program is now closed. 

For future iterations of the Sudanese and South Sudanese Youth Leaders Program, please find instructions below.

Please read the application instructions before starting your application. USIP will consider both internet-based and Word-based application submissions, but prefers internet-based applications when possible. The internet-based version of the application can be found here and the Word version of the application can be accessed here. Please only submit one application.

For program and eligibility requirements, please refer to the application instructions.

2015/2016 Application and Program Timeline

December 4, 2015 - Application opens
January 1, 2016 - Application deadline; no submissions will be accepted after 12:00 noon EST
January 15, 2016 - Semi-finalists notified via email by 17:00 (5:00pm) EST
January 18 - 25, 2016 - Semi-finalists interviewed by phone
January 29, 2016 - Finalists notified
April 1, 2016 - Spring cohort of youth leaders arrive in Washington, D.C.
July 1, 2016 - Fall cohort of youth leaders arrive in Washington, D.C.
August 8, 2016 - Spring cohort of youth leaders return home
November 10, 2016 - Fall cohort of youth leaders return home

Past Youth Leaders

Silvio William Deng, South Sudan
Project: Root Causes of Ethnic Conflict in Upper Nile State

Ikhlas Mohammed, Sudan
Project: Women’s Role in Conflict Resolution in Darfur

Arif Omer, Sudan 
Project: The Peace Lens Project (Media and Conflict in Sudan)

Othow Okoti Onger, South Sudan 
Project: The Role of the Church in Peacebuilding in Jonglei State

Related Publications

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

Friday, February 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Susan Stigant; Aly Verjee

This week, a new proposal for a power sharing government was tabled at the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) peace talks for South Sudan. An earlier, 2015 peace deal also contained a formula for power sharing; that arrangement failed and the civil war re-ignited a year later. Power sharing arrangements are appropriate if certain conditions are met, but not enough has been done to ensure the latest proposal will overcome the obstacles present in South Sudan, according to Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs and Aly Verjee, a visiting expert at USIP and a former senior advisor to the IGAD mediation, who comment on the proposal and suggest how it could be improved.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Help Iraqis Reconcile

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Help Iraqis Reconcile

Sunday, February 11, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Nancy Lindborg; Sarhang Hamasaeed

An international conference opens in Kuwait Monday to plan ways to rebuild Iraq and secure it against renewed extremist violence following the three-year war against ISIS. A USIP team just spent nine days in Iraq for talks with government and civil society leaders, part of the Institute’s years-long effort to help the country stabilize. The Kuwait conference will gather government, business and civil society leaders to consider a reconstruction that Iraq has said could cost $100 billion. USIP’s president, Nancy Lindborg, and Middle East program director, Sarhang Hamasaeed, say any realistic rebuilding plan must focus also on the divisions and grievances in Iraq that led to ISIS’ violence and that still exist.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism

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