On 21 February 2019, The University of Western Australia hosted Dr. John Gai Yoh, Special Advisor on Education to the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir. Dr. Yoh was formerly South Sudan’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology, the Government of South Sudan’s first Ambassador to Turkey, and the first Head of its Southern Africa Liaison Office, in Pretoria.
Dr. Yoh is also a leading scholar on the history and politics of South Sudan, and the East African region more broadly. Having received his PhD in International Politics from the University of South Africa (UNISA), he has published extensively in both academic and media outlets.
In Australia to promote his new book, “The Idea of South Sudan: The History of Political Thought” (2019), Dr. Yoh gave a public lecture at UWA on “Africa within world development trends: Grappling with the big global ideas”. The event – which was co-hosted by the Africa Research & Engagement Centre and Africa World Books – was well attended by academics and students from UWA, and by members of the South Sudanese community in Perth.
The lecture outlined a wide range of challenges that Sub-Saharan Africa in general, and South Sudan in particular, currently faces, from: food security, to demographic transition, to rapidly changing media environments. Examining these subjects from a range of inter-disciplinary angles, Dr. Yoh’s talk generated a good deal of discussion and debate, which continued well into the night.