Juba, 29 April 2019 – During a joint high-level visit to Malakal on 29 April 2019, United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Resident Representative, Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, and the Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, H.E. Seiji Okada, signed an agreement to support the rehabilitation of the Upper Nile University’s Malakal campus, and the establishment of the University of Juba Cultural Centre. The delegation, conducted by UNDP and the Embassy of Japan to South Sudan, was joined by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Hon. Yien Oral Lam and the Vice Chancellor of the university Prof. Marial Awou Yol.
At the signing ceremony in Upper Nile University campus, the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Seiji Okada, described this initiative as “an important first step for the recovery of Malakal”. He recalled how Japan has recovered and economically developed its nation after World War II by focusing on education of citizens. He congratulated the recent progress on the peace process and encouraged South Sudan to pursue its efforts to become a peaceful and prosperous nation and to focus on development as peace is solidifying.
UNDP’s Resident Representative, Dr Kamil Kamaluddeen, started his speech with a focus on the university’s societal role: “it will generate opportunities for the young generation, reorient them from crises and give them space to become important social actors that can shape the future of the nation”. As the university is central to Malakal and the Upper Nile region’s economic and social prosperity, its rehabilitation is sending a positive signal for the return of displaced people, he added, before concluding: “with a population of more than 5.000 students and staff, it is by far the most important unit for rebooting the social and economic activities in the area”.
The University of Upper Nile is currently operating from Juba as the escalation of conflict forced the university to close its campuses in 2014. UNDP’s rehabilitation project, with generous support from the Government of Japan (3,1 Million USD) is now starting the renovation and refurbishment of key buildings in Malakal’s main campus. The Governor of Central Upper Nile State, Hon. James Tor Monybuny Kur, said that today marked a milestone in the process of rebuilding what was once destroyed by the war. He was optimistic about the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and stressed that the time for development was now.
The “Renovation of Upper Nile University and University of Juba Cultural Centre” project showcases the strength of partnerships: government, academia, the donor community and the United Nations are coming together, and creating opportunities for youth, private sector and civil society actors to engage and rebuild.
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Hon. Yien Oral Lamu Tut, concluded the ceremony by thanking UNDP and the people and Government of Japan for the very important work in bringing back Upper Nile University – from which many prominent leaders of South Sudan had graduated – to Malakal.