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Rift Valley Institute

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Intellectuals Advise On Chiefs Involvement In Nation Building

South Sudanese Intellectuals have called on the government to involve chiefs in decision making process since they play a key role in enhancing policy formulation and implementation. This call came following a two days public lecture on culture and nation in South Sudan held in Juba University late last week. 

Facilitators answering questions from attendants at Juba university during the lecture © Gurtong

Some of the key speakers were the acting Dean of the College for Community Studies and Rural Development in the University of Juba, Dr. Alfred Lokuji, who gave a lecture on federalism work to save the new nation, and Youssef Onyalla, Archivist at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in the Government of Southern Sudan.

Dr. Cherry Leonardi, a lecturer in African History at Durham University among other international experts, gave a lecture on why culture matters….

“Most colonial policies were implemented through the chiefs; they had a greater voice on the people and therefore, enhanced successful achievement of the colonialist’s interest at the time,” Cherry said. 

Dr. Alfred Lokuji reiterated that chiefs were not the only excluded key societal persons in the amendment of the constitution…

“The way South Sudanese culture is being addressed in the constitution does not give room for the youths,” Dr. Lokuji said. 

The public lecture was organized by the Center for Peace and Development Studies, and the Rift Valley Institute in collaboration with Juba University and Danish Institute of International Studies. 

Benedetta De Alessi, a lecturer at Juba University and a member of the Rift Valley Institute told Gurtong that the lecture was organized to discuss culture and the nation of South Sudan in this historical moment… The lectures also aimed to promote the role of Universities in the region in enhancing development,  not only on culture but in the various ways of nation building… 
Dr. Hakim, a media activist, underscored the lecture as he recommended continued efforts for organizing the similar forums in future.

“This is the first time a lecture of this kind is held at Juba University following a ban of similar public lectures by the Northern regime in the 1980s,” Dr. Hakim said.

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