July 9, 2016 is a day like no other for us, both young and old. The fifth anniversary of South Sudan's independence is with us.
As the late Peter Tosh, the Jamaican reggae musician once said, “Peace is the diploma you get in the cemetery.”
Although thousands of lives have been lost, life goes on. Still, many a South Sudanese citizen must be deeply troubled.
On this most sacrosanct day in the nation's calendar, I am asking myself, "If the fifth anniversary of our ind
This is my final blog post in the series about my life's journey, intended to provide a glimpse into the events that fueled my desire to be a voice for the displaced..
With over 60 million people living through displacement in conditions that are far from ideal, the causes becoming more complex and the solutions more elusive, needs for compassion has never been greater.
When your homeland has been wracked by violent upheaval for decades, the prospect of peace is like t
I am delighted to be in Nairobi, Kenya to be appointed as a High Profile Supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It is a unique opportunity.
My journey has come full circle in many ways. I am honored to be recognized as a supporter of the refugee cause. I also feel a heavy burden of personal responsibility.
During the last fourteen months, my country, South Sudan, has seen the displacement of more than two million people. Less than four years ago
My mother Nyathak Muon Joak is a refugee. Like many South Sudanese women of her generation, she has experienced three different civil wars. It is impossible to explain the pain of losing loved ones including children, to describe the deprivation of familiar surroundings--of sounds, sights and smells; to detail the frustration of learning to cope with life in foreign lands that one did not choose to inhabit but was compelled to for survival.
I, too, have experienced war fir
I believe that stories like mine can educate people about the human cost of war, and also help to demystify terms like “refugee” or “internally displaced person”.
I became a refugee as a child. I was fortunate to have already known the beauty of my birthplace and learned the ways of my ancestors against the backdrop of our homeland.
The terms "refugee" or "internally displaced person" describe a condition where a person is forced to flee his or her home in the face of r
On 4 June this year, I made my first ever visit to Uganda, baptized as the 'Pearl of Africa' by Winston Churchill. Returning to East Africa always brings good and bad memories that I have learned to accept and cherish.
I come from this region of Africa which is the cradle of humankind. Although wars made me face challenges at a very young age, I remain attached to the people and places that played a role in shaping the path I am on today. And that is the pleasant feeling.
The opportunity to live in the United States represented a new beginning for me.
Being a refugee was hard. Everything was unfamiliar—the food, mannerisms, infrastructure, geography, culture. I had run away from my environment and everything that I knew to seek refuge in someone else’s.
I had lost my way of life; my values were challenged. I paid with my soul to follow new dreams. I had become an immigrant, cut off from my way of knowing how to do things. Still, I was
"You make me proud to spell my name w.o.m.a.n."
Citing the unforgettable Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey said these inspiring words to none other than the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.
It followed a light-hearted, entertaining and, as always, educational conversation on the Next Generation of Women. Bella, Maria and Sumeya, wherever you are, I'd like you to know I could not help but think of you when I heard what Oprah Winfrey said. In my mind you and m
It is important to me that people understand me for where I came from. From my origins in Greater Akobo, South Sudan near the border with Ethiopia, through my tribulations as a former child soldier and political refugee, to my transformation following my resettlement to the United States at the young age of 15.
On 20 June 2015, I was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for East & Horn of Africa. This is the region where my motherland, South Sudan, is situated.