Bishop Paride Taban Named 2023 Opus Prize Laureate
The late Bishop Paride Taban, founder of Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron in South Sudan, has been chosen as the 2023 Opus Prize Laureate.
VILLANOVA, Pa. (November 9, 2023) – The late Bishop Paride Taban, founder of Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron in South Sudan, has been chosen as the 2023 Opus Prize Laureate, as announced by The Opus Prize Foundation and Villanova University in a ceremony on Thursday afternoon. As the winner of the annual faith-based humanitarian award, Bishop Taban’s Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron will receive the one-million-dollar prize that recognizes social entrepreneurship championing faith-filled change.
Accepting the award posthumously on behalf of the late Bishop was Dr. Margaret Itto, deputy chair of the Board for Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron and State Minister for Health in Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan.
“Although it saddens me deeply that Bishop Taban is not here with us, I am truly honored to accept this award on his behalf and help recognize the passion and devotion he gave to Holy Trinity Peace Village,” Dr. Itto said. “He has impacted so many lives in Sudan through not only the founding of The Village but the continued love he provided to its community for almost 20 years. His impact will be felt there forever.”
Bishop Taban founded Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron in 2005 as an intentional community for people of diverse backgrounds who have experienced conflict. With a focus on conflict resolution and peacebuilding, as well as agricultural training, education, health services and food security, the Peace Village has allowed thousands of Sudanese affected by years of armed conflict and struggle in the North to flourish there in peace. In the nearly two decades since the founding of The Village — which has become globally recognized for its peacebuilding efforts in the region — Bishop Taban has been the recipient of several prestigious humanitarian awards.
“Bishop Taban dedicated his life to promoting peace and compassion for those in need, regardless of faith or background,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “As an institution grounded in the values of St. Augustine, who preached about the power of communities dedicated to love, Villanova University is immensely honored to celebrate the life and work of Bishop Taban, and to have the 2023 Opus Prize as part of his legacy.”
In addition to the $1 million prize, two finalists were awarded $100,000 prizes. Those recipients were Kristin Schroeder, MD, MPH, Co-Founder of the International Cancer Care and Research Excellence Foundation (iCCare) and Jameka Walker, Executive Director of Catholic Partnership Schools.
“Each of the finalists, through three diverse avenues, has shown the same remarkable commitment to faith-based service, bettering the lives of countless individuals,” said Kerry Robinson, executive director of The Opus Prize Foundation. “They have all left an indelible mark on their communities and the world, and we cherish this opportunity to recognize and celebrate their extraordinary humanitarian efforts.”
Each year, The Opus Prize Foundation partners with a Catholic university. As the 2023 host, a committee of Villanovans was responsible for 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. Following Villanova University’s selection as the host for the 2023 Opus Prize, eleven distinguished leaders from the Greater Philadelphia area representing arts, business, non-profit, faith and civic communities, were named to the Opus Prize jury. This group was tasked with selecting the three finalists based on the foundation’s values and principles and this year’s theme, Awakening Restless Hearts.
About The Opus Prize Foundation: The Opus Prize Foundation is a private and independent nonprofit foundation. Established in 1994 by the founding chairman of earlier Opus Companies, the Opus Prize Foundation is a self-sufficient foundation independent from The Opus Group. The foundation selects universities as partners to organize and execute the Opus Prize selection process and award ceremony. Through these partnerships, students are challenged to think globally and inspired to live lives of service.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.
(L-R): Kerry Alys Robinson, executive director of The Opus Prize Foundation; Dr. Margaret Itto, deputy chair of the Board for Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron and State Minister for Health in Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan; University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD