Assistant Secretary of State, Evan Ryan, Department of State Officials, USAID, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, my name is Lukudu William an Atlas Corps Fellow from South Sudan serving at the National Endowment for Democracy. At NED, I work on the Africa Team and the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) in their efforts to support freedom and Democracy work around the globe. I became an Atlas Corps Fellow with the conviction that the pursuit for democracy, human rights, rule of law and development are cross cutting topics that can not be achieved by an individual or country alone but with building partnerships, collaborations and networks at all levels to have a clear shared perspective and the change we want to see in the world.

My conviction as a young man from a new country is that there is a lot to learn from this fellowship that can be shared back home. It is this conviction that inspired me to accept the Atlas corps Fellowship oppurtunity in the first place. I committed to the fellowship and remain committed to sharing what I learned with friends and countrymen and women when I return home soon. I know that there are huge challenges, but it doesn’t mean that we stop trying. We must, as young people, continue to work hard and devote our energies to move things forward and effect positive change. The role of civil society is very critical now more than ever in South Sudan. For you friends and donors of South Sudan, civil society must be developed, strengthened, and consistently supported. In the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to hear Ambassador Lyman speak at the U.S. Institute of Peace and our Atlas Corps Graduation. He emphasized the important role civil society can play in the development of South Sudan, and around the world.

As an Atlas Corps Fellow, I have been involved in many outreach activities during my fellowship at NED including attending a five day course at USIP on Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa and more recently on the crisis in my country. These opportunities to share experiences and knowledge have enhanced my skills as a civil society young professional. More importantly, I have built a network with other professionals from South Sudan, Sudan, Africa, and around the world. I truly have no doubt that these face-to-face connections are so powerful and inspires my commitment to work for a better, stable, viable and democratic South Sudan that our people suffered so much to achieve.

On behalf of my Class 13 colleagues (Machien and Hakim), our new Class 14 Fellows from South Sudan, and on my own behalf, I would like to cordially convey our gratitude to the U.S. Government, Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, NED, Atlas Corps, and, most importantly, the American people for their unwavering support to the people of South Sudan.

I thank you And wish you all a pleasant evening!

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