The Role of Archives in Nation Building

UNESCO and the Rift Valley Institute warmly invite you to a public lecture

The Role of Archives in Nation Building
by Dr. Douglas H. Johnson, Rift Valley Institute

UNESCO House, Thongping
Monday 18 February 2013, 6pm

Every government produces new documents daily, and every government needs an efficient archive service in order to preserve and retrieve documents when needed. Despite this, archives in South Sudan have always been given a low priority in national development planning and funding, being seen as a matter of history and the past, rather than the present.

Yet many of the current political debates in South Sudan have their roots in the nation’s political past, and the record of that debate can be found in various archives – such as the manifestos of South Sudan’s political parties and exile movements preserved in the administrative record in Juba.

Questions of national reconciliation can benefit from an examination of the way previous governments promoted reconciliation on a regular basis at the local level. Boundary making needs to review records of past boundaries.
Despite many self-inflicted wounds resulting in the loss of valuable documentation, South Sudan still has a significant body of archival material spanning over 100 years of government to draw on in order to see what worked in the past, what didn’t work, and why. What is needed is a strong commitment to preservation, conservation and access. Otherwise South Sudan will lose the record of its past through neglect.

The National Archives Project of South Sudan is currently implemented by UNESCO, UNOPS and the Rift Valley Institute together with the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports, generously funded by the Government of Norway.

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Filed under Archives, Current affairs, History

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