Mary Baldwin Brings Sudanese Peacemaker to Staunton

September 29, 2010

A Sudanese war survivor and international peacemaker will journey to Mary Baldwin University next week bringing a true picture of life in a troubled nation and a mission for world peace.

During his visit October 5–8, the Rev. Orozu Lokine Daky, regional coordinator of the Serving and Learning Together Development Agency and ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Sudan, will tour both the campus and Staunton, speak with students, and visit local churches.

“He is a committed peacemaker in a very troubled, often violent part of the world. In the south of Sudan there is tribal conflict, violent tensions between faith traditions, and, too often, conflict within families as well,” said Roderic Owen, professor of philosophy. “Orozu’s own life story is compelling, and we at Mary Baldwin will have an opportunity to learn about the possibilities of reconciliation and the role of peace-focused faith in healing and transforming the cultures of south Sudan.”

Growing up in the remote village of Yatinatimoi during the 1960s, Daky faced a world of cultural ties and opposing government forces. His father — a polygamist with seven wives and 19 children — belonged to the Red Chief Clan, which according to Murle culture, is believed to have inherited powers from God. Daky and his siblings were considered royalty and not allowed to attend local schools or venture beyond the village limits.

In 1968, at age 7, Daky escaped cultural responsibilities for two days and ventured to a larger local town, marking the first time the boy witnessed Western clothing and experienced life beyond his rural world. Amazed by the sights, Daky was reluctant to return home when his two older brothers found him.

After his father’s death later that year, Daky left home to live in the larger town and receive a better education. His studies in government-sponsored schools helped Daky discover the power of religion and he was ordained as a full-time minister in the Presbyterian Church of Sudan in 1973.

Because of his position in the church and ties to the community, Daky and other influential leaders were kidnapped during the civil war in southern Sudan. Daky was contained for 70 days, then released unharmed, which he attributes to the power of prayer and faith.

On October 6, Daky will speak to students at noon in the Spencer Center at an International Cafe talk “The Way to Peace in Sudan,” and at 7 p.m. on October 7 in Miller Chapel, Daky plans to address the community in his presentation, “World Religions and Global Peacemaking.” He will conclude his stay on October 8 with dinner and a presentation at AME Allen Chapel.