【Close】Book Launch 'Peace and Unity through Sports: South Sudan’s First “National Unity Day” and Its Inaugural Olympic Participation'


event |



South Sudan became independent from Sudan on July 9, 2011, after a series of civil wars that lasted for half a century. However, in December 2013, a conflict broke out. Although a peace agreement was reached and an interim administration was established subsequently, the situation remained highly unpredictable. To realize the sincere wish of the Government of South Sudan to urge the people of the nation to unify as one through the spirit of fair play in sports, JICA assisted the holding of a national sports event called the “National Unity Day” (NUD). With additional support from the Japan Self-Defense Forces and Japanese companies, the first event since the independence was held in January 2016. Since then, JICA has been assisting the organization of NUD every year. Furthermore, JICA also assisted South Sudan in its first ever participation in the Olympic Games as an independent nation. Though many obstacles came in the way, South Sudanese athletes were able to compete in the track and field events during the Rio 2016 as well as Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.


The book “Peace and Unity through Sports: South Sudan’s First “National Unity Day” and Its Inaugural Olympic Participation” describes the efforts for peace and unity in South Sudan through sports. Dr. Furukawa Mitsuaki, the author of the book, was consistently involved in these efforts when he was the Chief Representative of JICA South Sudan Office. Based on his own experience, he explains why conflicts recur in the nation and why they support the National Unity Days for peace building. He also describes how the road to the first National Unity Day was not an easy one, what happened at the time of evacuation, and what significance Rio 2016 had on the peoples of South Sudan, while sharing some stories from the time.

This seminar aims to not only share the story behind the realization of NUD and South Sudan’s Olympic participation, but also discuss the changes in peoples’ perceptions of sports through such events, and to further explore what needs to be done for continuous progress for South Sudan’s peace and development through sports.


*Please note that all session times listed below are in CAT

14:00 – 14:20 Press Conference for the Sixth National Unity Day (NUD)

14:20 – 14:25 Opening remarks by Mr. Yamanaka Yoshifumi, Representative, JICA South Sudan

14:25 – 14:30 Opening remarks by Dr. John Apuruot Akec, Vice Chancellor, University of Juba

14:30 – 14:40 Introduction of the book by Dr. Furukawa Mitsuaki Professor, University of Shizuoka

14:40 – 15:10 Panel Discussion
Moderator: Dr. Abraham Kuol Nyuon, Dean, School of Social and Economic Studies, University of Juba
• Mr. Edward Settimo Yugu, Director General, Ministry of Youth and Sports
• Mr. Joseph Omirok, Olympic Coach
• Dr. Furukawa Mitsuaki, Professor, University of Shizuoka
• (Mr. Abraham Guem, Athlete and South Sudanese Olympian)
Discussion topics:
• Experience of South Sudan: what are the outcomes of NUD and Olympic participation?
• For continuous progress: what are the potential obstacles and how can we overcome them?

15:10 – 15:30 Q&A

15:30 – 15:40 Dr. John Apuruot Akec, Vice Chancellor, University of Juba


JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development (Ms. Takahata)


This event has ended.