South Sudanese Diaspora Community Dialogue
Watch our for a Dialogue in a city near you!
The Diaspora Roundtable Dialogue and Reconciliation
Although it is imperfect agreement, peace has been signed in South Sudan. However, the most pressing question for the South Sudanese diasporas is how will they contribute to bringing sustainable peace in South Sudan rather than further dividing themselves or the people back home. We believe the answer is to dialogue with one another, and forgive ourselves while not forgetting the unnecessary suffering endured by the people of South Sudan due to the 2013 conflict.
Therefore, in the interest of peace, unity, and reconciliation as diasporas, you are invited to joined in supports of the South Sudanese Diaspora Dialogue aims to promote inclusive and durable reconciliation between our communities in the United States. As a result of the 2013 conflict in South Sudan, our social fabric and ethnic relations have exponentially worsened leading to suspicions and mistrust amongst the diaspora communities, and the consequences are far-reaching. Many South Sudanese in the diaspora have been affected psychologically by the conflict, including losing their family members and friends during the conflict.
The role of the diaspora as a financial lifeline for the people of South Sudan is well recognized in South Sudan and globally. However, the diaspora’s contribution extends beyond the economic sphere. Diaspora involvement in the conflict ranges from financial contributions and social remittances to lobbying of US policymakers. South Sudanese diaspora communities around the world have increasingly voiced their grievances through social media, often using inflammatory language and images. Many of us here in the United States, in particular, has continued to fuel the conflict using inflammatory and divisive language on social media and other outlets. The information people choose to share online, via phone, and through social media has a direct line to influencing our families and friends in South Sudan.
This project, provide us with a conceptual framework that will facilitate interaction between our communities in the United States and create a conducive environment where we can all coexist as one people. As witnessed during the 2011 referendum, we the South Sudanese in the diaspora can be mobilized positively and constructively.
This initiative will shed light on the different factors influencing diaspora luck of contributions to peace in South Sudan.
- Tap into and rally moderate voices for peaceful messaging campaigns.
- Solicit community-based alternative frameworks for inter-community healing.
- Urge, minimize, and discourage diaspora online hate speech.
A core project team composed of twelve members of the South Sudanese diaspora (hereafter referenced as ‘core facilitators’) has been identified and trained to serve as dialogue facilitators. Community leaders who were selected by the core facilitators as key influencers in their communities will be invited as a project participant.
The core project team of trained facilitators will convene a series of five (5) roundtable discussions featuring approximately 50 participants. Sites for the dialogues will be determined by the core facilitators team based on factors such as ethnic diversity, size of the diaspora population, and existing networks and relationships. The discussions will include a diverse representation of the South Sudanese community, including religious leaders, women’s groups, youth groups, and other peacebuilding experts. Each diaspora dialogue will also include an element of arts and peacebuilding, such as traditional dances or poetry, as a way to encourage conversations around national unity and national pride.
- The project team and USIP will convene a one-day roundtable discussion with crucial selected representatives from each diaspora dialogue, as well as DC-based experts from USG and the NGO and think tank community. Select members from the diaspora community in the DC area will also be invited to participate. The purpose of this final dialogue will be for representatives from each conversation to brief the group on the critical topics of discussion from each of the diaspora dialogues with the larger group.
- Directly following the final roundtable, USIP will convene a working group meeting with the core program team to discuss lessons learned and the next steps. Together they will work on drafting a policy document that outlines outcomes and peace messages for critical constituents in the U.S., South Sudan, and the region.
This project aims to contribute to a growing awareness of the direct consequences of spreading hate messages to South Sudanese communities and begin to heal fractured relationships between ethnic groups in the South Sudanese diaspora in the United States. The Diaspora Dialogue is necessary because while the signed peace agreements could create an improved political environment, it will not necessarily respond to the realities in the diasporas. Its success will depend upon the support of the affected Diaspora population, which may be dealing with more pressing challenges, such as loss of family members and trauma.