The Alumni Relations Department holds South Sudan Chapter dinner

By Foda Michael

On December 2, the Alumni Association participated in a meaningful engagement in Juba, South Sudan. Besides the Principal Officer, Alumni Relations, the USIU-Africa delegation also included the Chief Manager - Admissions, and the Chair, USIU-Africa Alumni Association. More than fifty USIU-Africa alumni gathered and shared over a sumptuous dinner event at the Pyramid Continental Hotel, under the theme “Network, Conceptualize, Reconnect”. Organized by an interim executive body and volunteers from the SSD alumni, the event included alumni from various sectors in South Sudan including the public and private sectors.

Mr. John Makur leads the alumni association in South Sudan as the Interim Chairperson. He warmly welcomed the alumni to the gala dinner and gave an overview of the USIU-Africa alumni activities in South Sudan. John Makur applauded the alumni in South Sudan for their achievements in the public and private sectors, highlighting the diversity and harmony among the South Sudanese alumni who studied at USIU-Africa. He also mentioned that in 2024, the USIU-Africa alumni in South Sudan will elect to office an executive who will carry on with the activities of the association in the country. John Makur encouraged the alumni to attend such events as the gala dinner provides a platform for professional/social networking and celebrating their achievements.

During the event, Mrs. Aker Deng was celebrated for her resilience, strength, and compassion for having battled and overcome a life-threatening illness. Aker did not stop there but rather opened a state-of-the-art health facility in Juba, South Sudan. The facility, Iteru Medical Center, is the first of its kind to offer physiotherapy. While making her remarks, Mrs. Deng’ invited all the SSD Alumni to a cocktail that she’ll host at the facility.

During his speech, the Chairperson of the USIU-Africa Alumni Association, Mr. James Gathere, appreciated the efforts of the alumni in South Sudan. He expressed gratitude for the guidance, leadership, and support provided by the USIU-Africa Management Board, the Alumni and Admissions Department. James Gathere particularly touched on the role of the alumni in giving back to USIU-Africa and announced the goal of creating an Alumni Memorial Park with a Juba Corner in honor of our dearly departed alumni. He additionally gave an update on the achievements of USIU-Africa Alumni including a partnership with Jubilee in healthcare for alumni. He concluded his speech by challenging each of the Alumni present to give back to their alma mater by recommending to USIU-Africa at least five SSD nationals in the next one year.

To demonstrate USIU-Africa’s Motto “education to take you places”, Madam Victoria Otieno, Managing Director of Alpha Bank, spoke about the importance of networking, career development, and the activities of the alumni. She supported the initiative to give back to her alma mater by promising to avail internship opportunities and job placements for USIU-Africa students and alumni.

Honorable Atong Kuol, the Minister of Animal Resources, Fisheries and Tourism in Jonglei State attended the event and reminisced together with the alumni the memorable moments at USIU-Africa in the years gone by. She stressed the importance of always moving on professionally and discouraged the youth from relying too much on technology rather than engaging their mind in learning. Hon. Atong finished her speech with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. Whatever you do, keep moving.”

Honorable Philip Aguer Panyang, the Guest of Honor, took the alumni down memory lane. He is the former army spokesperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), now known as the South Sudan People's Defense Force (SSPDF), the former Governor of Jonglei State, and a founding member of the South Sudan Students Association in Kenya (SSSAK) and to date, SSSAK remains in existence due to his efforts. He inspired and motivated the alumni with an account of his military service to the country and how he courageously decided to stop his studies at Alexandria University (Egypt) to join the guerilla movement in South Sudan during the liberation war. It was during this war that Hon. Deng committed himself to complete his education should he survive the war. Rather than go back to his former University, he opted for USIU-Africa. He concluded his remarks by thanking the alumni for the invitation and declared his continuous support to promote the values and principles of USIU-Africa.

Flare, glamour, and elegance indeed defined the colorful night! The alumni were not shy to put their best foot forward and highlight their achievements and ambitions. The gala dinner was a successful event that not only set the precedent for annual galas but also hinted at a promise by the alumni in South Sudan to give back to their alma mater and the communities in South Sudan.

Social Media