Bishop Paride Taban received the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation in the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lambeth Awards on Friday 9th June, for his lifelong work promoting peace. In recent years this dream of living peacefully and ending tribalism has been made real through his establishment of Holy Trinity Peace Village in the Kuron region, where Bishop Taban lives.
His outstanding work has seen Kuron transformed into a more peaceful region over time, in spite of ongoing cattle raids from neighbouring states. Prior to starting the Peace Village, he was also the co-founder of the New Sudan Council of Churches, which played a key role in peace, reconciliation and advocacy during the then Southern Sudan's war of independence from 1983 to 2005.
We are delighted that Bishop Taban has been able to travel to the UK to receive his award in person, and that the Anglican Church has chosen to honour a Catholic Bishop with this award, a decision in alignment with the ecumenism that prevails among the churches in South Sudan. The Bishop is being hosted in the UK by Golda Abbé, a Friend of Ibba Girls School. Abbé admired the Bishop's wisdom in living a balanced life by "meditating, exercising, eating well, offering nourishing words of wisdom" -- not to mention his sense of humour -- and the "humility, lightness and purpose" that he brings to each interaction.
At age 81, the Bishop continues to travel for work in Mission Aviation Fellowship's (MAF) Cessna planes, the same ones which carry our capacity-building volunteer teams to Ibba Girls Boarding School. Bishop Taban said in an interview that MAF's work is "bringing peace for the suffering people of South Sudan", and also that the award was important to "tell the world that there is something good happening in South Sudan, not always just talk of war and death and something negative".
We extend our warm congratulations to Bishop Taban, and join him in continuing to work for peace across South Sudan.