For the first time ever, a South Sudan university’s governing body will be led by a woman.
Awut Deng Acuil — who is currently the Minister of General Education and Instructions for the Government of South Sudan — will serve as the head of the council at the University of Bahr El-Ghazal, Face2Face Africa shares from a BBC report.
News of Achuil’s appointment was reportedly announced during a presidential decree that was read on the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation, the national broadcaster.
Acuil, who is no stranger to making history in her country, also previously became the first woman to serve as South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, according to Face2Face Africa.
A report from PaanLuel Wël shared that from 2005 to August 2019, Acuil held several high positions in the country’s government including Presidential Advisor on Gender and Human Rights, Minister of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Minister of Humanitarian and Disaster Management and Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.
In addition to being a newly-appointed leader for education, Acuil has been recognized as a notable figure who’s fought for peace, human rights and gender equality, getting involved in a number of political organizations.
A report from Face2Face Africa describes Acuil as a leader of peace efforts in South Sudan for playing key roles in the 1999 Wunlit Peace Conference between the Nuer and Dinka, during a time of much ethnic violence. Additionally, she also traveled around the world from 2000 to 2002 while advocating peaceful solutions for South Sudan’s many issues of violence.
As a result of her advocacy work, Acuil — the expert trainer on conflict resolution — earned herself the 2002 Interaction Humanitarian Award, becoming the second African woman to receive such an honor after Graça Machel — Nelson Mandela’s wife and widow.
Acuil’s activism in and outside of South Sudan has earned her a solid reputation in her community and there are no doubts that she’ll continue to be a leader at the University of Bahr El-Ghazal as council chair.