South Sudanese living across the world maintain strong ties and express an undying attachment to their homeland. This is apparent considering the millions of dollars the diaspora remit back home annually, noticeable from the fact that South Sudanese community leaders are becoming increasingly involved in politics, and evident in the new wave of development, business, and philanthropic initiatives in the country – and beyond – spearheaded or supported by the diaspora community.
Since the 2013 conflict, as people continue moving out of the country to settle in North America, the Pacific, Europe and parts of Africa, the spotlight has shone on the Diaspora. It does not come as a shock that their kin, the youth, and the entire people of South Sudan have high moral, social, and economic expectations from those living abroad. Fortunately, their thirst for heroes and models has not gone unquenched. South Sudanese migrants and their offspring have gone ahead to excel in noble professions, like the lawyer & refugee advocate Deng Adut. Their skills, dedication and tenacity have seen members of the diaspora progress in academics, sports, fashion, music and politics. Leveraging their positions with ongoing involvement in community development and peace building efforts these community leaders can affect positive change both online and on the ground.
Indeed, this is a generation of proactive diaspora communities around the world, as you can read in the #Defyhatenow interview with Mary Apollo on the role of diaspora journalists in peacebuilding.
#Defyhatenow and the #Diaspora4Peace
Since 2015, the #defyhatenow initiative has engaged with the South Sudanese diaspora to spread the message of peace and counter online hate speech. The diaspora communities still close to South Sudan such as those in Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, have participated in trainings and have now gone ahead to train others on how to use social media responsibly. The involvement of the diaspora further afield cannot be overlooked. Last year, a number of South Sudanese living in Canada came together to jam for peace. Organisations such as the PeaceTech Lab and the Rift Valley Institute have conducted interviews to gather perspectives and advice from those living abroad, with a series of diaspora dialogues and reports to understand better how to counter or mitigate online hate and dangerous speech and the role the diaspora can play in that process.
Get involved in #PeaceJam18 #Diaspora4peace
#PeaceJam18 is an online community peacebuilding event for anyone interested in peace and cultural dialogue to jam for peace. We invite people around the world to participate in our online campaign #PeaceJam18 to spread peace online. Everyone can join our peace jam by simply sharing online messages of peace on UN World #PeaceDay, 21st of September. Our goal is to raise awareness and counter social media based hate speech and incitement to violence by occupying this space with messages of peace.
Be active and participate:
Share your message of peace for South Sudan on your social media pages with hashtags: #PeaceJam18 #Diaspora4peace #Peace4ALL #defyhatenow #SouthSudan
Check out the #PeaceJam18 event, Respond by going and invite your friends to attend.
Add the #Peacejam18 fb frame to your profile picture!
Additional Reading & Links
Remittances to South Sudan – an unrecognised source of aid
By Abraham Mamer and Sara Maher, published by Human Rights in Australia
Webs of peace and conflict: diasporic engagement in South Sudan
By Freddie Carver, published by Life & Peace Institute
PeaceTech Lab Social Media Lexicon of Hate Speech Terms
Case Study: Free speech, too much speech and hate speech
The role of transnational networks and mobile citizens in South Sudan’s global community: a pilot study focused on Melbourne and Juba. Published by Rift Valley Institute, March 2018
Mary Apollo on the role of diaspora based journalists in promoting peace in South Sudan