Bangor University's contribution to Africa's newest nation

On Saturday 9th July 2011, the world will welcome its newest nation, the Republic of Southern Sudan (more usually called South Sudan), born out of the suffering caused by decades of civil war.

Bangor University, and in particular the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGY), is proud to have played a significant role in developing the new nation through its natural resources masters programmes.

Between 2002 and 2009, ten southern Sudanese professionals were awarded MSc's in SENRGY, and all have returned to South Sudan to build up their new country. They were co-funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission's shared scholarship scheme and Windle Trust International, a charity dedicated to providing access to education and training for those affected by conflict in Africa.

As Mario Konyen, Windle Trust's Programme Officer said, "Bangor University has played a crucial role in the capacity building of South Sudanese professionals."

The University's Anglican Chaplaincy also contributed, providing  free lodgings and a monthly living allowance to two or three South Sudanese students every year while they studied for their MSc.

As former Anglican Chaplain, John Butler explains: "This enabled students who had no funds at all, even the ability to maintain themselves, to attend Bangor University and develop the skills so badly needed by their fledgling country.

"Many of these students had had their first degree in Juba disrupted by civil war which meant that their grade was not sufficiently high to obtain funding from Commonwealth Scholarships or the Department for International Development. All succeeded and are now in a position to do responsible work forming their new nation. A condition of the sponsorship was that they returned to their country to do exactly this making us very proud of them and grateful this scheme could be implemented at exactly the right time."

Bangor’s Alumni in South Sudan are working in varied roles for a range of organisations  and development agencies including the World Bank, and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, the University of Juba, and the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries. Their roles include Economic Development Advisor, Capacity Builders, the Acting Director General for Investment Promotion at the Ministry of Investment, programme analysts, a Lecturer and a consultant.

Further information on Windle Trust International: http://www.windle.org.uk/

Publication date: 9 July 2011