PCDN Interview with Emmanueal Jal, World Renowed Musician and Peacemaker, Please Suggest your Questions

Dear Colleagues

As part of our interview series with leading practitioners and scholars, we are pleased to announce that PCDN will be doing an interview tomorrow (November 17th) with Mr. Emmanuel Jal, one of the world's leading musicians and peacemakers.

We know this is short notice, but as with all our interviews we want to also rely on PCDN members to suggest questions you would like us to ask Emmanuel.  We can't promise that all of them will be asked, but we will strive to integrate the most relevant ones. Once the interview is complete will post the entire interview on PCDN. Please post your questions directly in this discussion as a response.


Dr. Zelizer


Emmanuel's Bio is below

for more on his work see his website



Also see his recent campaign, We Want Peace, http://www.we-want-peace.com/

See also his TED talk 

Emmanuel Jal has won worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his experiences as a child soldier in Sudan. His music can be heard alongside Coldplay, Gorillaz, and Radiohead on the fundraising ‘Warchild - Help a Day in the Life’ album, as well as in three ER episodes, the National Geographic documentary God Grew Tired of Us, and more recently in the feature film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He also featured on John Lennons ‘Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur’ amongst the likes of U2, REM and Lenny Kravitz.

Emmanuel Jal was born in war-torn Sudan, and while he doesn’t know exactly when, he believes it was in the early 1980s. He was taken from his family home in 1987 when he was six or seven years old, and sent to fight with the rebel army in Sudan’s bloody civil war. For nearly five years, he was a “child warrior,” put into battle carrying an AK-47 that was taller than he was.

By the time he was 13, he was a veteran of two civil wars and had seen hundreds of his fellow child soldiers reduced to taking unspeakable measures as they struggled to survive on the killing fields of Southern Sudan. After a series of harrowing events, he was rescued by a British aid worker (Emma McCune) who smuggled him into Nairobi to raise him as her own.

To help ease the pain of what he had experienced, Emmanuel started singing. In 2005, he released his first album, Gua (”peace” in his native Nuer tongue), with the title track broadcast across Africa over the BBC and becoming a number one hit in Kenya. Gua also earned him a spot on Bob Geldof’s “Live 8? concert in the UK.

Jal performed at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in Hyde Park, London, June 08, he shared a stage with Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, Damien Marley and Stephen Marley at the Black Ball in London in July 08 and also addressed delegates at the UN in New York in the same month. Jal has also performed with Razorlight, Supergrass, and Faithless in Europe.

Last October Emmanuel toured the United States as part of the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival, in which he performed in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and New Orleans. Jal also performed with Moby and Five for Fighting in the 2007 live concert film, The Concert To End Slavery (www.concerttoendslavery.com/trailer).

Jal has a full-length documentary on his life and times which has been touring the film festival circuit. It premiered at the Berlinale festival this year, and won the Cadillac audience choice award at the Tribeca film festival. His autobiography has been sold to St. Martin’s Press with anticipated release of spring 2009.

His new album ‘Warchild’ was released on 12th May 2008 on the Sonic360 label (distribution by ADA Global/Fontana) with additional production and mix by Neal Pogue, (Outkast, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch).

Tags: Emmanuel Jal, Interview, Music, Peace, Sudan, War Child

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Thanks Everyone, we will try to ask as many of your questions as possible. Please keep them going up until 1:00 pm Eastern Time today.

How do we ensure that our art is "true", that it reaches for the depths rather than falling into mere propaganda? As a novelist I struggle with this all the time, but I suspect it is an issue for all artists trying to use their art for peace, social justice or other progressive causes.

First and foremost, I must appreciate the efforts of Mr. Craig Zelizer for providing this important opportunity for the lovers of peace makers. My quetion to Mr. Emmanuel Jal is below;


What do you think will happen to Kenya when Al-shabab militia revenge? Kenyan soldiers have stormed Al-shabab bases and targeting to capture their main base in Kismayo.I am pretty sure that sooner than later,they will revenge.What do you think will happen to Kenya when these Somali rebels fight back?

What could have promted the Al Shabaab terror activities in Kenya?

What are some of the precousionary mesures Kenya ought to have put in place for these terror group?

And finaly as a musician, what message of peace can you preach for Kenya?


Thanks Dr. Zelizer for giving us this opportunity .My question to Emmanuel Jal is Do you want to contribute your share towards creating young musicians in South Sudan?  And. How do u define the development of Art Specially, music in Africa?

if singing was taken away from emmanuel what will he like to do?

How can we reach young people to develop the Peace movement more effectively?

Email me when you do the interview

Thanks Craig, I do not have a question for Emmanuel Jal rather a comment I have for him! He is doing great in the global peace campaign I must confess. His poems and music are fundamental characteristics of peace building. Therefore, I will only add my voice to urge him to keep the flag of peace and unity around the world flying through his God given grace. Emmanuel Jal, more greece to your elbow.

Barr. Julius.

Hopefully my question has made it in on time.  As a former student activist in the STAND movement, I'd like to know Emmanuel Jal's feelings about the wider popular social movement that arose in reaction to the attrocities in Darfur.  Does he feel it was an effective campaign?  Did it, in any way, constructively contribute to better policy responses to the conflict on the part of the US government and international community?  What role can/should broad social movements, like STAND or Save Darfur, play in peacemaking efforts?   Thanks and looking forward to reading the full outcome of the interview!

Thanks. Sorry got this too late to include in the interview which went very well and he enjoyed the questions from many of the PCDN members.  Attached is a photo of Emmanuel, Tania Cambell-Gooding (his manager) and Zohar Rom (from www.Ilaughedicried.com films who filmed the interview today and will be editing for PCDN)

how about organizing concerts in collaboration with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement? many would attend for sure. liaison with the movement leaders would be difficult though. Can Emmanuel start the process?


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