Thursday, November 1, 2012

Augustino Lucano is a South Sudanese living in Calgary. He and Janyce Konkin, Regional Projects Coordinator for Initiatives of Change in Alberta, are currently working together to create a Trustbuilding Workshop for the diaspora from Eastern Equitoria State in South Sudan. Here Lucano shares how his passion for peace became 'unstoppable', helping to resolve years of conflict in his home state of Eastern Equatoria.

Augustino Lucano'I first heard about the Summer Institute while taking the Initiatives of Change Trustbuilding workshop at the University of Calgary in Spring, 2011. The Summer Institute instructor, Dr Thomas Turay, inspired me to think positively about peace. I learned that change comes from individuals and gradually reaches everybody. This motivated me to write my research paper on a local issue in my home state of Eastern Equatoria in South Sudan. After the course, my desire to achieve peace in the area was unstoppable. I was excited and passionately shared that excitement with my friends in the community here and in Africa.

'When the MP, Joseph Lokodo Kolombo, called me we discussed the ongoing conflict between Didinga and Toposa tribes. I enlightened him about my research paper and described how it could help the community members tackle cattle raiding. Enthusiastically, the MP requested a copy which he shared with his colleagues in parliament. Joseph informed me that, based on my research paper, the Eastern Equatoria Governor was encouraged to form a peace committee to conduct a peace and reconciliation meeting in Majii. I went to the village in December 2011 where I visited people in the village and talked about the peace initiative with the Toposa tribe.

'Outcome: The two tribes now use the Majii Peace Centre to do barter trading, cattle for tobacco and maize or melons, etc. Toposa have cows, Didinga have gardens and farm produce, so they now share the natural resources and grazing depending on the season. During the dry season the Toposa graze near the peace centre where they trade and talk about peace between the two tribes. If I had not taken the Peace Consortium Summer Institute I would not have been able to contribute so successfully to peace in my area of South Sudan.