A Grassroots Peace Movement
Archbishop Elias Taban was born into conflict that has framed his home of South Sudan for 60 years. In his early years, Bishop Taban was a child soldier that would later serve as a Colonel in the Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). During his military service he was sentenced to death, but a reprieve was issued by a senior official that he’d led to Christ.
The grassroots movement and building of peace efforts is in partnership with Bishop’s wife, former military officer, Reverend AnnGrace Taban. Reverend Taban serves as leader and organizer of the Christian Women’s Empowerment Program (CWEP). CWEP provides a weekly women’s bible study, business center coursework, hospitality training, guest room accommodations, a dining facility and daycare operations throughout the week.
The peace building determination by Bishop Taban has not gone unnoticed. Bishop Taban addressed the UN in 2012 as a vocal member of the global Control Arms Coalition in support of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). In Bishop’s words, “If we can regulate the sale of iPhones, why can we not regulate the sales of ammunitions that are killing innocent lives?” Bishop Taban and the coalition successfully advocated for regulation of weaponry that bore catastrophic violence in South Sudan and other international communities. For these efforts, Bishop Taban and several representatives of the coalition were recognized by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a handover ceremony in 2012.
Following this significant campaign, Bishop Taban was awarded the Clinton Global Initiative Award in 2013 and has continued to be a voice for the relief of his people — from the mouth of the displaced to the ear of the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. In the words of Bishop Taban, “I am a Jesus man.”
As a developer with a degree in Civil Engineering and Theology, Bishop Taban’s continued labor to advance and broker peace in South Sudan includes his work to employ and lift the South Sudanese through Water Is Basic and BASIC Ministries International: The South Sudan Project.