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The Six inspiring characters you should heed in 2020



1. Lieutenant General Nhial Deng Nhial is a South Sudanese politician and a member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

He was Minister of Foreign Affairs 2011 to 2013 and 2018 to 2019 after having served as the caretaker Minister of Defense since 10 July 2011.

Prior to that, he served as the pre-independence South Sudanese Minister of SPLA and Veteran Affairs, from 22 December 2008 until 9 July 2011.

Nhial Deng Nhial was appointed Minister of Regional Affairs in the Southern Sudanese cabinet in 2005 by President Salva Kiir.

He however abruptly resigned from the cabinet less than six months later. There has been speculation as to what led to that resignation, with no clear reason being fronted.

In 2004, rumors soared across Southern Sudan that John Garang was planning to dismiss Salva Kiir as his deputy and replace him with Nhial Deng Nhial.

However, at a meeting of SPLA top brass held in Rumbek, in December 2004, one month before the signing of the CPA, Dr. Garang made it clear that those speculations were just that; only speculations, without any basis for truth.

In December 2008, Nhial Deng Nhial was appointed Minister of SPLA and Veterans Affairs by the then President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, replacing General Dominic Dim Deng who died in a plane crash on 2 May 2008.

He returned to the South Sudanese cabinet with the military rank of Lieutenant General in the SPLA.

 Following the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, Nhial Deng Nhial was appointed Caretaker Minister of Defense of the Republic of South Sudan.

On 26 August 2011, President Salva Kiir Mayardit unveiled his long-awaited cabinet with Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan.

He is a member of the SPLM’s highest organ, the Political Bureau, and served as the leader of the SPLM delegation in Naivasha peace talks.

He is one of the smart politicians with limited tribal mindset.

2. Dr. James Wani Igga is a South Sudanese politician who is currently serving as the Vice President of South Sudan. He was Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly from 2011 to 2013 and secretary-general of the SPLM.

Igga joined the South Sudanese rebels in 1985, training in Cuba and Ethiopia. He rose through the SPLA ranks rapidly, and by 1987 Igga had the rank of Major and commanded the Shakus Battalion. The same year he served as Zonal Commander of Central Equatoria and as a member of the SPLA High Command.  Igga was reportedly well-respected among civilians.

Igga was one of the SPLA’s most senior representatives during negotiations with SPLA-Nasir. He represented Garang as the head of the SPLA-Torit delegation at peace talks in Nairobi in November 1991. In 1993 Igga accompanied Garang to Nairobi for a peacemaking seminar in June 1993, and to Kampala for an IGAD-mediated dialog with the Nasir faction. Igga had known Lam Akol, one of the Nasir leaders, since their time together in the Cuban training camp.

As chairman of the SPLM Political Affairs Commission, Igga established the Technical Committee of Intellectuals in February 2000. This Committee was tasked with planning the civil administration of Southern Sudan.

Following the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement establishing the autonomy of Southern Sudan, Igga was in charge of transitioning the SPLM from an insurgent strategic leadership to a political party.

He was chosen as the speaker of Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in 2005, and he continued in that office until independence in 2011. In addition, Igga was appointed caretaker governor of Upper Nile State for the transition period.

Igga read out the proclamation of independence when Sudan divided. Igga continued as the legislative speaker of the lower house from 2011 to 2013.

President Salva Kiir appointed Igga as vice president on 23 August 2013 to replace Riek Machar, whom he had dismissed a month previously. He will be required to resign as speaker. Igga was unanimously confirmed by the National Assembly on 26 August

Since, the outbreak of civil war, Dr. James has been one of the peace loving personalities to date.

3. John Apuruot Akec is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Juba since March 2014.

In May 2010, Akec was appointed as the founding Vice-Chancellor of the University of Northern Bahr El-Ghazal in Aweil, South Sudan.

From 2007, Dr. Akec was Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Deputy Director of the Centre for Computer Studies, University of Juba.

He graduated with B.Sc. (Hon.) in Applied Physics and Electronics from the University of Gezira in 1985.

He then obtained a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Wales College of Cardiff (UK) in1992, specializing in robotics and automation.

Akec was awarded a Doctorate of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2000.

In 2005, he was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Environmental Innovation by the University of Manchester, UK.

Dr. Akec’s work experience include employment at Khartoum Radiation and Isotopes Centre, Ministry of Health, Khartoum (1986-87), Sudan, University of Juba (1987-1990), University of Central England in Birmingham (1993-1994), University of Warwick, (1999-2000), and the University of Salford, UK (2000-2002).

He was a visiting lecturer at the School of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering, the University of Birmingham (2002-2003) teaching at the postgraduate level.

He also worked as a freelance analyst for the mobile phone market in Africa for Juniper Research Limited, UK (2006).

Akec held memberships in a number of international professional bodies that included the Institute of Electrical Engineers (UK), Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Computer Society, and Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).

Dr. Akec outside the academic community writes about the social and political environment pertaining to Sudan in general and South Sudan in particular.

He is a regular contributor to Sudan Tribune online and Citizen Newspaper. Since 2006, Dr. Akec has been writing in a popular blog bearing his name.

His blogs were published by Ditctus in March 2019 as a book entitled South Sudan: The Path Not Taken.

Currently, Dr. Akec serves on the Committee for Administration and Finance for Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).

Currently, Dr. Akec is completing a dissertation for an MSc degree in Economics at the University of Juba.

4. Nyadol Nyuon is a commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler and a community advocate.  

She was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in the Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. 

At eighteen, Nyadol moved to Australia as a refugee. Since then she has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne.

Outside her work, and through the experiences of her family and community, Nyadol has developed an interest in issues concerning human rights, multiculturalism, the settlement of refugees and those seeking asylum.

She has volunteered extensively in relation to these areas has worked with governmental and non-governmental organizations. 

In both 2011 and 2014, Nyadol was nominated as one of the hundred most influential African Australians. 

She is currently a board member of the Melbourne University Social Equity Institute.

In terms of advocacy, Nyadol has presented at various conferences and forums on issues impacting the settlement of African Australians in Victoria and Australia in general. 

She regularly appears in the media, including recent appearances on the ABC’s The Drum and as a panelist on Q&A.

5. Aluel Dim Deng is a South Sudanese entrepreneur, writer, and humanitarian living in London, UK.

In December 2017, she published ‘Prime Me Golden’, a self-help book dedicated to young women growing through and out of the many difficult situations people are often faced with, whilst she herself was going through a phase of rediscovery.

After launching the book at a London event in January 2018, many grew fond, making Prime Me Golden feature in bookstores’ ‘Top New Women’s Day Books and Authors’ display that same year.

This, as well as many experiences she faced inspired her to start the charity organization, ‘Her Nation’, which had and still has the sole intention of giving girls within South Sudan the understanding that being a girl must never stop someone from pursuing their dreams and aspirations – conveyed through various projects.

Her Nation had a successful first year with events and activities, such as the Girl Talk in October 2018, and the Cultural Day shortly after in December, both in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as a weekly podcast show hosted on Spotify discussing various issues.

Her Nation will resume its activities and projects in the year 2020.

Having started her first business years prior, Aluel used her expertise to this year, create the brand, ‘Corp Media’, a company facilitating media and tech entrepreneurs and creatives (with a main point of contact in Kenya and the UK) and turn it into a successful business from the tips she received, and lessons learned from her previous venture.

Corp Media Africa as a business stemmed from this, which was recently followed by her making the wise decision of expanding the brand and launching Corp Media Studios.

Next year is looking just as hopeful for Aluel as she aims to write another book, resume Her Nation activities, and continue to grow Corp Media into a successful, global brand.’

6. Achai Awet Alor (nicknamed Achai Wiir) is a South Sudanese businesswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian worker, and peace advocate.

Being a young, energetic, trustworthy, and hard worker, she is the owner of almost 40% of metropolitan boutiques and restaurants in Juba. Among her humanitarian achievements includes;

1. she sponsored numerous South Sudanese students studying in Kenya and Uganda.

2. Help cleared the medication of a South Sudanese Student stranded in Egypt after severe kidneys failure.

3. Offered Two expensive cars to Musicians with disability in Uganda.

4. Organizes a free peace concert in Kampala to reconciles the communities that fleed South Sudan during the civil war of 2013 and 2016.

Achai Wiir is one of the potential south Sudanese women in the country with the great ambition of improving the standard of the poor with respect to the rich.

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