2016 Tutu Fellow Peter Biar Ajak has become a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School. He started his Fellowship in August 2022.

In his new role, Peter is working on a book manuscript about the ways South Sudanese can realize their political aspirations. Peter was wrongfully detained without trial by the South Sudan National Security Service.

When he was eventually brought to trial for treason the court dismissed the charges.  He was then held groundlessly until freed by Presidential pardon in 2020.

At the Belfer Center, he is also supporting the Africa in Focus program.  The book he is working on explores state formation in South Sudan through an analysis of the exercise of authority of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement / Army (SPLM/A). The book will explain how the logic of authority developed during the war continued in peace time, subordinating politics to violence and denying the people of South Sudan the chance to build consensus on the ideas of state, and a future of peace, justice and prosperity.  It will also explore ways the South Sudanese can rediscover their agency and realize their political aspirations. 

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after two wars, ethnic violence, and rampant human rights abuses. In 2020, it formed a coalition government, but as of this writing, elections have been delayed until December 2024.

Peter is a South Sudanese economist, security sector professional, prominent civil society leader, and political dissident passionate about democracy and prosperity for his people. He was previously a Visiting Fellow and Adjunct Faculty at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies of the National Defense University and a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow and Visiting Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.

Peter was also the Chairman of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, Senior Advisor to the LSE-based International Growth Centre, Political-Economy Consultant with UNICEF, Senior Consultant with Berghof Foundation, and the Founder and Director of the Juba-based Center for Strategic Analyses and Research. He was also previously a Senior Advisor to the Minister of National Security in the Office of the President of South Sudan and an In-Country Economist for the World Bank.

Peter's detention was widely condemned by the international community and AFLI also issued a statement the day after he was arrested on behalf of the Tutu Fellowship.

Read more about his Fellowship on Linked In.

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About AFLI




The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.