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Herman Peters

Herman Peters was born in Venlo on 29 April 1923 and passed away in Megen on 20 March 1994. He was a Roman Catholic missionary and cultural anthropologist. After a theological and philosophical training in the Franciscan friars’ minor order, he was ordained as a priest in 1950. He then studied cultural anthropology at the University of Utrecht and at the Catholic University in Nijmegen. He received his master’s degree in 1955 with Henri Th. Fisher in Utrecht. In 1956 he went to Dutch New Guinea as a missionary and was stationed in the Central Highlands,  first from 1957 to 1959 with the Amungè in the Tsingga valley and then from 1959 to 1964 in the Baliem valley. During the last year and a half of that period, he was released from his missionary duties to devote himself completely to his PhD research in anthropology on the Mugogo, Siep-Gosi and Itlai-Hadluk inhabitants of the Baliem valley. He wrote his dissertation during his leave in the Netherlands in 1964-1965 and obtained his doctorate in anthropology in Utrecht with professor Jan van Baal with his thesis “Some chapters from the social-religious life of a Dani group” published in 1965 by Dekker and van de Vegt. It was published in English in 1975 by Lembaga Anthropologi of the Universitas Cenderawasih, Jayapura. After his phd he returned to West Papua and stayed there until 1976. He worked mainly in education for the Akademi Teologi Katolik in Jayapura and returned to the Netherlands in 1976 for health reasons. He died as a member of the Franciscan community in Megen.

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