Dr. Priscilla Joseph Kuch, born in 1964, is a South Sudanese politician, peace activist and Associate professor of community medicine at the University of Juba’s College of Medicine.
Her contribution towards peace begun in Khartoum; Sudan, where she was a part of the team that established the South Sudan Women Movement; through a Dutch initiative aimed at involving more then southern women in peace activities. The group helped advocate and influence for peace specially the southerners where they worked with nine women groups including political parties with support from international agencies. It would later intervene in the abduction of children who were taken for slavery in South Kordofan with the assistance of UNICEF. This helped to reduce conflict in South Sudan between Masiria and Dinkas.
Following the South Sudan’s conflict that started in December 2013, Dr. Priscilla founded the South Sudan Women Network for Peace which she is also chairperson to date. The network comprises of members from the Government, Opposition and Civil society Organizations. The network’s focus is on women empowerment, dialogue, gender for peace and sustainable development and Implementation of the Peace Agreement. Her desire to see a South Sudan that is vibrant, transparent, accommodative and democratic is the source of her passion for involvement in peace efforts for more than 20 years.
Trained as a medic with a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery as well as Masters in Community Medicine, she has served South Sudan’s post-independence government first as Minister without portfolio in the office of the president (2010-2011) and Deputy minister of Gender, Child and Social welfare (2011-2013).
Dr. Priscilla also serves as a board member and chairperson of several institutions including but not limited to South Sudan Pension Fund, UN Women Civil Society Advisory Committee, and South Sudan Peace Task- Force on Inclusive Security. She remains an active member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Abul Oyay, born in 1987, Abul Oyay is a South Sudanese Artist and founding member of #Anataban, a collective of creative artists who use their art as a platform for youth to demand peace and justice in South Sudan. Born in Gambella; Ethiopia, raised in South Sudan and Uganda, She pursued university in both England and Kenya
Abul credits her artistic influence to early years spent with her paternal grandmother who practiced traditional arts and crafts. She has always had an interest in the arts but began painting in 2012 while studying in the UK. She has been raised and surrounded by strong women and is passionate about sharing their stories through her art. It is therefore no surprise that her art is largely inspired by them as revealed in all her works. Her style is semi-realistic with a liking to experiment with non-traditional art materials that she mixes into her paintings. Recently, Abul has chosen to add a deeper meaning to her works by connecting with communities she portrays in her art and exploring different techniques.
It is with this skillfulness in art and desire to rely on it to contribute to peace and justice in her country that she through #Anataban has led a group of visual artists and pioneered street art in Juba since 2016. This audacious initiative has brought to completion of over a dozen powerful pieces on walls and containers across South Sudan’s capital; Juba.
A practicing peace activist through art, Abul is currently finalizing her degree in peace and conflict studies at USIU in Nairobi; Kenya. She has held exhibitions in the UK, South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.
Paleki Matthew Ayang is a talented young lawyer and activist passionate about women’s rights. Currently, Mrs. Ayang is the Executive Director of South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network (SSWEN), a national indigenous network that promotes gender equality and women’s rights, and aims to empower South Sudanese women to build peaceful societies in South Sudan.
As a prominent member of the South Sudan Law Society, Mrs. Ayang has advised on human rights, media legislation, and constitution making. She has also published numerous papers and articles, as well as co-authored the book “My mother will not come to Juba – South Sudanese Debate the Constitution.”
Ms. Ayang sits on the advisory council to the Special Representative of United Nations Secretary General in South Sudan, serves as a Gender Advisor to the United States Institute for Peace’s Peace Radio for Youth in South Sudan program, and in 2013 was elected as the Vice-Chair for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s Regional Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination.
In addition, Mrs. Ayang is a member of the Global Women Waging Peace Network and also the Taskforce for the Engagement of Women, a group of 20 Sudanese and South Sudanese peacebuilders supported by the Institute of Inclusive Security, who advocate for women’s meaningful inclusion in peace processes in and between the two countries.
Mrs. Ayang graduated from the University of Juba’s College of Law with Distinction in 2008. She is also a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) where she pursued the civic leadership track – Public Policy Course at University of California – Berkley.
Meet Merekaje Lorna Nanjia; a mother, a sister, a friend and an activist.
She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi. Trained as Biomedical Technologist, Merekaje has developed a career both as a biomedical technologist and a civil rights and political activist. Over the years Merekaje Lorna has acquired different skills in leadership, mediation, advocacy and lobby. She currently serves as an advocacy and lobby focal person for CPJ (Citizens for Peace and Justice) a coalition of civil society representatives, academics and individual activists from South Sudan.
Merekaje is the Secretary General of a South Sudanese national civil society organization (SSuDEMOP) that played a significant role in domestic election monitoring and observation during the 2010 Sudan General Election and the 2011 Southern Sudan Referendum for Self-determination. Merekaje helped establish SSuDEMOP and now the organizations have grown from initial domestic election observation organization to focus on Governance and Democracy, Gender Mainstreaming and Conflict Mitigation. SSuDEMOP has developed over a period of time to be known as a civil society hub for advocacy and lobby on various issues of concern and relating to social, political and economic rights. Merekaje was instrumental in organizing the first ever South Sudan national civil society convention after the independence in July 2011.
Merekaje is known for her active participation in policy discussions and active role in advocating for policy changes and sustainable developments for a better society. Merekaje Lorna has made a space and name for civil society among different civil rights advocates, women movements and political processes in South Sudan. She is particularly passionate about progress for Africa and African Vision. Merekaje is one of the civil society representatives nominated to participate in the South Sudan Constitution Review Commission. Her role has been of great significance in enhancing the relationship between civil society organizations in and out of the country, with Government/Public and the Private Sector.
She is a member of global network of high achievers, the US State Department sponsored International Visitors’ Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation and London School of Economics sponsored Programme for African Leadership (LSE- PfAL). Lorna is among few South Sudanese women and civil society activists working in the background and at the ongoing IGAD-led South Sudan peace process. Her passion is to mobilize support for social benefit and advocate for common good of the society and mentor the young people in preparation to taking leadership roles in the society.
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.