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Tutu Fellow Victor Ochen Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Tutu Fellow Victor Ochen Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Ugandan-born activist the youngest African to be nominated


Tutu Fellow Victor Ochen (33), founder and director of the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) has been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. A 2011 graduate of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme, Victor has dedicated his life to rehabilitating victims of war by providing psycho-social support and life-saving healthcare.

 

“My heart swells with pride to hear of one of my ‘children’ leading change in Africa,” commented Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. “Victor is part of a special group of African leaders who have graduated from the program that bears my name and I wish him well as a potential recipient of this auspicious honour.”

The nomination of Victor has been put forward by the American Friends Services Committee (AFSC), the same organisation that nominated previous Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter, among others.

In May 2014, AYINET hosted the National War Victims’ Conference in Kampala, Uganda for which Archbishop Desmond Tutu – the patron of the African Leadership Institute (AFLI) – provided the opening address. As a result of the conference, Victor was invited by Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for the UN Commissioner for Refugees, and the Foreign Secretary, William Hague to London to take part in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

“My work supporting victims and survivors of war, advocating for human rights, engaging in peace and reconciliation is out of inspiration I gained from Tutu himself and the skills and knowledge I gained during the fellowship. I hope that this nomination will contribute to a change of perception of Africa’s youth as agents of prosperity and peace.”
– Victor Ochen, Tutu Fellow and 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee


Through AYINET, Victor has hosted countless workshops to promote tolerance, reconciliation, forgiveness and development in war-torn Uganda. Since 2005, AYINET has provided reconstructive surgical repair to at least 5000 victims of torture and sexual violence, as well as treating war wounds and those requiring mental health support. Born in one of northern Uganda’s camps for displaced people, Victor spent most of his youth amid war, witnessing an array of human rights abuses. In 2003, the Lord’s Resistance Army abducted his elder brother and cousin. To this day, their whereabouts are unknown.

“Victor is a remarkable young man who epitomises selfless values-based leadership, a key aspect of the Tutu Leadership Fellowship and a critical selection criterion in identifying high potential leaders to participate in the programme,” added Peter Wilson, co-founder and global CEO of AFLI. “Our network of Tutu Fellows consists of leaders from all walks of life and in different parts of society who are demonstrating exceptional leadership in their efforts to transform the continent. We salute Victor and AYINET for being recognised by the AFSC and being nominated to the Nobel Peace Committee.”

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