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Victor Ochen: The First Ugandan Nominated For A Noble Peace Prize

At age 33, Victor Ochen is the first Ugandan to ever be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He is a child victim of the LRA war that left several people in northern Uganda dead, injured and traumatized.

It was on these grounds that Victor Ochen founded the African Youth Initiative Network, that works towards the healing of trauma and promoting youth leadership.

Victor Ochen with Bishop Desmond Tutu

Victor Ochen with Bishop Desmond Tutu

Victor Ochen and the African Youth Initiative Network was nominated by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) who themselves won won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.

“Victor Ochen has consistently shown both commitment and effectiveness in his efforts to address the needs of victims. He has worked for transitional justice, while simultaneously promoting human rights through nonviolent means, nourishing the leadership skills of other young people, and challenging systemic issues that lead to the continued vulnerability and suffering of war victims,” the AFSC wrote in its nomination letter.

Victor was born in Lira district and in 2005 he founded the African Youth Initiative Network. ‘His life story mirrors the stories of the populations his organization serves, but he has never allowed his own grief and trauma to coerce him toward violent reactions to the hardships he has faced.’

Victor Ochen and African Youth Initiative Network “offer a unique and powerful example to be emulated by marginalized people all over the world. We therefore respectfully request that the Norwegian Nobel Committee recognize Victor Ochen and the African Youth Initiative Network’s work on behalf of victims of violent conflict by awarding them the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize,” AFSC added.

Victor Ochen and AYINET  in an acceptance statement they shared on their website said,

“The nomination is a sign of deep respect for victims and survivors of unspeakable atrocities who, instead of being crushed by war, struggled and regained their dignity that allows them to leave in peace with their fellow humans. Further, it is a recognition for those victims who have devoted their lives to heal others. Many such people represent AYINET today, notably our director and founder, Mr. Victor Ochen.”

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