Date of Conferral





Human Services


Mary Bold


In 2011, South Sudan became independent through the agreement and implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA). However, interethnic conflict also escalated. This cycle of violence impacts the psychological and physical health of local society. When violence between ethnic groups escalates, civilians may be forced to flee their homes. This study employed a phenomenological research approach that examined the views and experiences of the recruited 13 members from the state of Jonglei; 5 members of the Dinka, 3 members of the Murle, and 5 members of the Nuer ethnic groups residing in the United States. In an attempt to understand the root causes of the conflict between ethnic groups, this research used a qualitative study plan that examined interethnic politics, perceptions, and beliefs among South Sudanese ethnic groups: Dinka, Murle, and Nuer. In addition, this study examined the presence of armed ethnic groups, the use of guns, and the relationship between trauma caused by past exposure or experience of violence and subsequent interethnic groups conflict. Data were analyzed with descriptive and patterned coding. The 5 identified themes from analysis of the collected data were: roles of ethnic identity, lack of trust in the system of the distribution of resources, roles of ethnic politicians, uncontrollable use of guns and defense of ethnic territory. In addition, the past war incidents between ethnic groups have a negative impact on the present relationship. The findings of this research may create positive social change for ethnic groups and for communities who may use it as an opportunity to understand their own problems and to establish an ethnic advocacy type of conflict resolution in South Sudan.