Featured Artist: Emmanuel Jal - We Want Peace

Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child soldier on an unknown date in the early 1980s in the war‐torn region of Southern Sudan. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and go on to emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences.

Presented by Charlottesville City Schools

Note: due to delayed flight, program will begin at 10AM. 

We Want Peace is a powerful song and campaign spearheaded by internationally recognized South Sudanese musician, actor and former child soldier, Emmanuel Jal, to originally mobilize massive support for South Sudan through a universal call for peace. Through strategic social media outreach and fan participation, the campaign has grown in strength through our strong network of international partners and high profile supporters ‐ George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Darryl “DMC” McDaniel’s and many more.

Through the success of the We Want Peace movement, Emmanuel’s personal message of peace has resonated particularly amongst young people, allowing them to connect to larger social and political issues through emotional empathy. Jal’s inspiring story of overcoming adversity and turning hatred and bitterness into a life of peace as a successful recording artist, has a notable impact especially within deprived communities where the route to a peaceful life faces many challenges.

With the support of international organizations such as Omnilife, Free The Children, Amnesty International, Masterpeace, Ford Foundation and many others, Emmanuel has taken ‘We Want Peace’ on the road and spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world. He has visited the troubled region of Juarez, Mexico,toured San Diego, Mexico City, New York, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Kenya, Zambia and cities across the UK and Canada. Often these tours include visits to community centers, youth detention centers and prisons where Emmanuel has been able to speak first hand to young people who have become disengaged with education and society in general. Alongside his visit we have a full educational pack which maximizes on the learning opportunities around Emmanuel’s story which enable students and young people to understand more fully the complex issues around child soldiers, forced migration, war and how to engage in a more peaceful life, starting with education. For more information on Emmanuel’s We Want Peace educational tour and materials please visit:


Watch Emmanuel’s TED talk here:

Founding Partners