Janzen Travels to African Hot Spot

Stopping Conflict in South Sudan Though Nonviolence


When Selkirk College Instructor Randy Janzen traveled to South Sudan in June, it wasn’t to report on the looming humanitarian crisis caused by famine and civil war in that country. On the contrary, the Peace Studies Program instructor wanted to learn more about an exciting project where local and international professionals are organizing together to systematically seek ways to reduce violence in this war-torn country on the brink of famine.

Janzen joined Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international organization that works in conflict areas around the world, to learn more about how this organization works on the ground to reduce violence. Their techniques are based on the model called “unarmed civilian peacekeeping.”

Janzen in South Sudan

Selkirk College Instructor Randy Janzen was part of a team that included these three unarmed civilian peacekeepers working in an isolated Dinka community, where ethnic Nuer have recently arrived to escape the armed conflict in their region.

“While military peacekeeping has been shown to be effective in reducing violence, utilizing specially trained unarmed civilians has been shown to be just as effective in reducing violence,” says Janzen. “Unarmed civilians are able to go even further in building lasting cultures of peace by breaking the cycle of violence so that guns and other arms are not viewed as the only method to bring about justice and peace.” 

Janzen hopes to use his experience to spearhead a collaboration between Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace and some international partners to develop a research project in South Sudan that would measure some of the impacts of unarmed civilian peacekeeping on communities suffering from violence.  

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