Professor JULIA AKER DUANY: The Power of Education in Empowering Women and Nation building

Prof. Julia has amassed a lifetime of achievement, from teaching, researching, activism on justice and social change in Sudan and now South Sudan. She is currently Vice Chancellor of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology, the only female VC of the five national Universities, CEO and founder of Gender Equity and Women Leadership Program in South Sudan. Formerly Chief of Party of South Sudan Higher Education Initiative and Leadership Development, Research Associate at Vincent and Lin Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. A Fulbright Scholar at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, she was formerly the first female Undersecretary in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Chairperson of Recruitment and Selection Board in the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development in the Government of South Sudan (GOSS). In mid-1970-80s she held the position of the Deputy Secretary of the Sudanese Women General Union in Southern Region. During her tenure she was able to build the women center currently still being used in Juba.

“She is currently Vice Chancellor of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology, the only female VC of the five national Universities”

Julia has also taught in primary and secondary schools in Sudan and United States. She and her family fled from Sudan when war broke out in 1984, and she earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the Indiana University School of Education. Always concerned about social justice issues in her country, she founded the South Sudan Friends International. In 2010 she founded the National Volunteer Program (NVP) to create awareness and encourage women to participate in the Referendum which resulted of 52% of women votes for Independent of South Sudan. She wrote a book entitled ‘Making Peace and Nurturing Life: A Memoir of an African Woman about a Journey of Struggle and Hope’. She wrote extensively on social, justice and gender issues and she is very passionate about bringing in more South Sudanese women into political leadership roles. Winner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Building Bridges Award for Faculty for dedication to service and outstanding leadership, Indiana University 2005 and Refugee Women Leadership Award for Valuable Contribution to Refugees, Women Commission for Refugees 1995, New York, USA.

“In 2010 she founded the National Volunteer Program (NVP) to create awareness and encourage women to participate in the Referendum which resulted of 52% of women votes for Independent of South Sudan”

Prof. Duany’s main interest field of study focuses on Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; she has a Ph. D. in Institutional Analysis for Higher Education, particularly in gender issues. M. Sc. in International and Comparative Education Development, B. Sc. in Social and Cultural Foundation of Education (justice and social change issues).

She is currently working on a new book on the Institutional Crises of the SPLM/A 1983-1994 soon to be published. She has worked on several articles and a contributing author for several chapters in different having been published more than 10 times. She has been invited to over 120 forums where she has advocated and made presentations as well as keynote addresses on women and children’s rights.  In 2004 she gave a keynote address at the national conference for lost boys and girls of Sudan on; “Militarization of the African Children: A case of Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan”, and another Keynote address in December the same year on; “African Women’s Voices: Effect of War on Sudanese Women,” at the Center for African Studies; Department of Women’s Studies, in Columbus, Ohio. The most recent one is “The effect of Dowry and Gender-Based Violent in South Sudan”, a topic that has effect on many of the South Sudanese communities.

Prof. Julia carries her people in her heart, particularly women and children, she gives a generous amount of her time in community volunteerism, despite her extremely busy schedule, Julia somehow finds time to give back to Society. During the Sudan Civil war, she and her husband worked with the Churches to advocate for peace, focusing on the finding local solution to inter-communal conflict. This became a major program known as “People-to-People Peace-building in South Sudan.  She is currently co-chair of Board Directors for many local and International NGOs, The African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) in Sudan and member of the Africa Board, the Mennonite Central Committee, Sudan and South Sudan, a member of Great Lake Initiative (GLI), a Chair, Skills for South Sudan and Girls’ Guide Association South Sudan. She is a member of African Women’s Vice Chancellor Forum and Regional African Universities Forum, a member of Sudan Studies, African Studies Association, Association of African Women Educationalist, Comparative Education, International Development and was a member of the Republic of South Africa Assessment Review under New Partnership for African Development, just mention a few.

“Prof. Julia carries her people in her heart, particularly women and children, she gives a generous amount of her time in community volunteerism, despite her extremely busy schedule, Julia somehow finds time to give back to Society”

She is fluent in Dinka, Nuer and Arabic which she use to help refugees as an interpreter for diverse claims in court for various US agencies.

During the war in the 1980s-90s, Julia worked as an Educational Consultant for UNICEF in UN Operation Lifeline Sudan in 2001. She also participated in advocacy on the UN Resolution 1325. She is even a Chief Editor of the Parliamentarian Newsletter, published by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to Promote Multi-Party Democracy in South Sudan. She is also an editor of “South Sudanese Lens”, a Newsletter published by South Sudanese Friends international.  Julia has travelled to nearly 25 countries across the world.

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