Building a Nation
Akec Khoc Aciew, ambassador to the United States from the Republic of South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, visited campus and told the audience assembled in the Rondileau Campus Center about his people’s long road to freedom. “My country, in its efforts to achieve independence, suffered many hardships but there is euphoria today among the people of South Sudan who finally enjoy freedom and democracy,” he said.
Frederick Clark, executive vice president and vice president for external affairs, introduced the ambassador. “Having you here as the first ambassador to our country to a brand-new nation is a very special honor for us,” he told the guest speaker. “A trained physician who has practiced in Europe and Africa, he has made great personal sacrifices – and demonstrated great personal courage – to help his country achieve independence.”
Also bringing greetings to the event, held in the Rondileau Campus Center, were Dr. Jabbar Al-Obaidi, director of BSU’s Center for Middle East Studies and Dr. Michael J. Kryzanek, executive director of the Minnock Center for International Engagement.
“I’m happy to be here and have the opportunity to talk about the achievements and the challenges of the Republic of South Sudan,” said the ambassador, as he opened his remarks. He noted that his country was recognized by the United Nations just over a year ago. “When Sudan was under British and later Egyptian rule, up to 1956, the people of my nation did not have control of their sovereignty. South Sudan has rich oil reserves, and for more than 100 years those resources were exploited at the expense of my people.”
Finally, he said, “After 30 years of intense effort, the Republic of South Sudan was born in July, 2012, and we have taken our place among the family of nations in the world. This was both a political achievement and an economic achievement reflecting the desire and the will of South Sudan’s citizens to be free and independent.” (Story by David K. Wilson, ’71, University News)