2017 Desmond Tutu Fellowship Awarded to Emmanuel Jal

2017 Desmond Tutu Fellowship awarded to Emmanuel Jal. Photo: Emmanuel Jal

2017 Desmond Tutu Fellowship awarded to Emmanuel Jal. Photo: Emmanuel Jal

Author, musician, peace ambassador and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal will come to Australia this month to be awarded the 2017 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship.

The Fellowship, which this year is focused on people’s displacement, promotes reconciliation by bringing global support to individuals engaged in local projects. It recognises Mr Jal’s global work in reconciliation as a displaced person from South Sudan. 

An established and accomplished musician and performer, Mr Jal is the architect of the We Want Peace campaign which helped attract international attention to the suffering in South Sudan through the 2011 independence process.

The 2008 documentary Warchild depicts his life overcoming adversity as a child soldier in South Sudan, and shares his remarkable ability to turn hatred and bitterness into a life of peace. Mr Jal’s autobiography, Warchild, was published in the same year.

Mr Jal founded his own charity, Gua Africa, which sponsors South Sudanese refugees through a survivors of war program, and promotes education in Africa for displaced people through academic sponsorship.

Emmanuel's peace activism and achievements have been recognised by the United Nations as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; and he has addressed the US Congress on peace and reconciliation, drawing on his personal experiences and background.

Paris Aristotle AO will present Emmanuel with the award at the Melbourne Town Hall on 24 August 2017.

Mr Aristotle has for decades been a tireless advocate for asylum seekers and refugees. He is the CEO of Foundation House, which has built a national network of torture and trauma services, supporting people with counselling, advocacy, education, information and therapy.

Fellowship Chairman, Dr Charles Lane, said Mr Jal was exemplary in using his life experience to promote peace and reconciliation through his music, activism and charity.

‘Emmanuel Jal continues to make an enormous contribution to global reconciliation and peace through his art, the education programs he supports and his leadership among so many young displaced and often disengaged people,’ Dr Lane said.

‘His contribution stood out among a competitive global field of impressive nominees for the Fellowship, who are all working tirelessly to make our world a better, more peaceful and compassionate place,’ Dr Lane said.

Mr Jal is the eighth recipient of the Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship. Past winners include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO FGR, and Noble Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi AC.

Global Reconciliation aims to research and promote reconciliation through dialogue and practical engagements across national, cultural, religious and racial differences in Australia and overseas.

The Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship is a flagship project of Global Reconciliation, recognising and supporting people contributing to reconciliation projects within, between and across communities.

Come and see Paris Aristotle present Emmanuel Jal with the 2017 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship Award at the Melbourne Town Hall this Thursday evening, 24 August, at 5.30pm. Entry is free.

Victoria Baldwin