BY Paschal Norbert
VILLANOVA, NOVEMBER 7, 2023 (CISA)- The late Bishop Paride Taban Abraham Kenyi, emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Torit, South Sudan, has been nominated for the prestigious Opus Prize-an annual faith-based humanitarian award, whose $1 million award and two $100,000 prizes make up one of the world’s largest faith-based awards for social entrepreneurship.
The Opus Prize honours individuals and organizations committed to engineering lasting solutions to address poverty and injustice by combining “the spirit of innovation with amazing faith to inspire long-term, local solutions.”
Bishop Paride Taban, who died on November 1 in Nairobi, Kenya, has been recognized for his efforts in peacebuilding in South Sudan and the establishment of the Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron – an intentional community for people of diverse ethnic backgrounds who have experienced conflict.
Each year, the Opus Prize Foundation partners with Catholic universities to award the prize, however, the individual or organization receiving it may have roots in any faith. The awards are held on college campuses to provide an opportunity to inspire a new generation of leaders.
“Through identifying Opus Prize finalists, students build meaningful connections, experience personal transformation and are challenged to live lives of service,” notes the Opus Prize Foundation.
This year, the foundation selected Villanova University, USA, to host the 2023 Opus Prize. The university was charged with overseeing the process of identifying nominees, selecting finalists, participating in due-diligence site visits, planning the awards week on campus, and most importantly, inspiring others to ignite change in their respective work and organizations.
In a statement introducing Bishop Taban as a finalist for the Opus Prize 2023, Villanova University explains the pioneer bishop of Torit established the Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron as a peaceful destination where human dignity can flourish – a place of peace and meeting point for tribes that are often on hostile terms.
“The Village’s operations focus on agriculture training, education, health services, and food security, as well as conflict resolution and peacebuilding, forever changing the lives of thousands of Sudanese,” the host university says.
The late prelate has been nominated alongside Dr. Kristin Schroeder, the co-founder of the International Cancer Care and Research Excellence Foundation (iCCARE) and Jameka Walker, the Executive Director of Catholic Partnership Schools (CPS), as the Opus Prize 2023 finalists.
According to a press statement by the university, Rev Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, the president of the University in a word of support for the work of the foundation said “As Villanovans, our University mission calls us to ignite change, and the Opus Prize Foundation embodies this mission by supporting organizations addressing the world’s most pressing social problems. We look forward to infusing our Villanova values and traditions to this year’s event, and to helping identify the finalists deserving of this prestigious honor.”
In the statement, the university said the Opus Prize will be awarded to the finalists during a ceremony on campus on November 9, 2023.
Established in 1994 by the founding chairman of earlier Opus Companies, the Opus Prize Foundation is a private and independent non-profit foundation. Each year, it selects universities as partners to organize and execute the Opus Prize selection process and awards ceremony.
Hailed as a ‘warrior of peace’ the body of Bishop Taban will be received in South Sudan on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, from Nairobi. He will later be interred at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Torit, on Friday, November 10, 2023.