Peter Biar Ajak, an inspiring youth advocate for peace, was arrested in South Sudan on July 28. He remains held at the notorious South Sudanese prison known as the Blue House, and we - his family and friends - are building a campaign to support efforts for his release.
Peter was one of ‘the Lost Boys of South Sudan.’ Displaced during the war when he was young, Peter lived in refugee camps before being taken to the United States by humanitarian charities. Once in the US he studied hard, learned English, attended La Salle University, and graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 with a Masters in Public Administration - International Development.
After graduating from Harvard University, Peter worked at the World Bank as an economist and he is nearing completion of his PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK.
His inspirational story is now being recognized. Peter is an Atlantic Council Millennium Fellow and a Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow. In June, Peter was awarded the Crans Montana Forum’s New Leader for Tomorrow Award by H. E. Moussa Traoré, former President of Mali.
Peter has always kept his focus on South Sudan and his hope for a peaceful future. He has dedicated himself to creating opportunities for dialogue among South Sudanese youth, running wrestling tournaments across the country to bring young people together and to celebrate South Sudan's unique culture. He founded the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum (SSYLF) bringing together young leaders, both men and women, from across ethnicities and politics to encourage youth throughout the countryside to embrace peaceful dialogue.
Peter has a wife and two young children. We are asking for him to be released and allowed home to his family.
Jared Genser and the team at Perseus Strategies as well as a legal team based in the region have taken on Peter's case pro-bono. Funds raised from this campaign is to support expenses required to fight for Peter's freedom and support his family during this time of need.
Initial $35,000 budget from Summer 2018:
* $15,000 of travel expenses for international legal team, including Perseus Strategies, traveling to Kenya and South Sudan (expenses include travel, accommodations and local security)
* $10,000 of local legal team support, including travel between Kenya and South Sudan
* $10,000 campaign expenses for grassroots organizing to call attention to Peter's cause and provide family support
Additional $25,000 added in January 2019:
* $10,000 of additional local legal team support, including travel between Kenya and South Sudan
* $15,000 additional campaign expenses for grassroots organizing to call attention to Peter's cause, provide family support, and assist with medical expenses for Peter when he is released
We have setup a structure of friends and family to manage expenses and provide accountability over distribution of funds. I, Jacob Donnelly, will withdraw donations and distribute them to others helping including legals teams in the US and Kenya, as well as to our campaign coordinator in Belgium. Funds will initially go to a US account and then be disbursed to reimburse Perseus for its out of pocket expenses as incurred and sent to a Kenyan bank account for local legal and family support. We will draw from the account monthly and re-balance the budget as appropriate with the ultimate goal of having the support needed to campaign for and bring cause to Peter's release.
Photos courtesy of Catherine Lee
Please read more about news coverage of Peter’s arrest:Al Jazeera: Amid peace efforts, South Sudan arrests activist Peter Biar Ajak Newsweek: U.S. Senators Call For Release of Harvard Activist Detained in South Sudan After Criticizing GovernmentUniversity of Cambridge Call for ReleasePeter's wife Nyathon discussing Peter's detention on the BBC