Efforts to implement an August 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan faltered in July 2016. The civil war, sparked by rivalry between the country’s two main leaders, resumed and has left the country on the brink of genocide, according the United Nations. The U.S. Institute of Peace has worked in South Sudan since before independence to bridge divides between communities and promote inclusion. USIP supports the Sudd Institute to conduct independent research, trains civic leaders on intergroup dialogue and gender dynamics, and produces of a youth-focused radio show.
The United States played a key role in the emergence of South Sudan as an independent state 10 years ago. Yet today, U.S. policy toward the country is insufficient to address the continued violence or promote sustainable peace. Even so, it is not too late for U.S. policymakers to embark upon a renewed push for peace. To move forward, they should listen to what South Sudan’s people said in the recently concluded National Dialogue and incorporate its recommendations in diplomatic, humanitarian and development strategies for the country.
South Sudan’s civil war expanded into Equatoria, the country’s southernmost region, in 2016, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Uganda in what has been called Africa’s largest refugee exodus since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Equatoria is now the last major hot spot in the civil war. If lasting peace is to come to South Sudan, writes Alan Boswell, it will require a peace effort that more fully reckons with the long-held grievances of Equatorians.
As part of its commitment to learning from peace processes, the U.S. Institute of Peace is pleased to launch the South Sudan Peace Process Archive, which aims to provide South Sudanese citizens, mediators, policymakers, academics and other interested readers a window into the 2013-2015 negotiations that attempted to end the conflict that began in South Sudan in late 2013. Documents for this archive were first assembled and organized in 2016. Now, archive curators and former peace process advisers Zach Vertin and Aly Verjee discuss their motivations for assembling and organizing the documents and what they hope the archive can contribute to future peace processes.
Generation Change works with young leaders across the globe to foster collaboration, build resilience and strengthen capacity as they transform local communities.
The South Sudan Peace Process Archive was created with the cooperation of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with funding from the U.S. Department of State. The objective of this Archive is to provide South Sudanese citizens, regional actors, mediators, policymakers, academics, and other interested readers a window into the 2013-2015 negotiations that attempted to end the conflict that began in South Sudan in late 2013. The Archive is also intended to facilitate comparative study in conflict mediation and to help inform other peace processes.
Since 2020, USIP’s programs on religion and inclusive societies and nonviolent action have been conducting research to better understand the role of religion in nonviolent action campaigns. Many of the most prominent activists and nonviolent movements in history have drawn on religion as they worked to build peace and advance justice. Historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi often come to mind. But religious leaders, beliefs, symbols and practices have featured just as prominently in more recent nonviolent campaigns, including the Arab Uprisings, the Spring Revolution in Myanmar and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement.