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The KAS Scholarship Programme has been highly successful and beneficial in the past in granting young potentials access to higher education and value oriented degrees. However, the extension of the scholarship scheme to students from South Sudan is relatively recent and still in its phase of establishment since 2011, with the first alumni only graduating now. In the very different country context of the young nation of South Sudan, the debates on democracy, development, governance and human rights are even more pressing and stand to create positive impulses within the country. The small starting steps to building a network of South Sudanese graduated from the UMU courses aims to keep these debates and questions alive and at the forefront of young nationals that are planning and willing to engage positively in the development of their country.
In order to achieve the aim of forming a strong alumni network within South Sudan, it is crucial to continuously review and strengthen the connection between the scholarship holders, alumni and KAS. This meeting, after the last one in 2013, aims to bring together all those actors and engage in a joint reflection on the programme itself, its challenges and maybe yet unrealised opportunities.
Moreover, the current group of scholarship holders in South Sudan are also a key sample of members of civil society on South Sudan. As such they serve as a resource to start a discourse on the possibilities and strategies for political, civic or media engagement in the current political climate of South Sudan. The scholarship meeting will therefore be taking advantage of the joint knowledge of this group to explore different avenues for engagement in South Sudan for KAS and as a general country analysis.
One key output of the meeting will be the in-depth debate and a resulting report on the situation in South Sudan with regard to possibilities for civic engagement and the work of KAS there. This will serve as a basis for country evaluation and future planning within KAS.
Another outcome of the meeting should be concrete strategies and commitments aimed to strengthen the network of scholarship holders and alumni in South Sudan as well as introducing the new scholarship holders for 2015.
The meeting will be an opportunity for further networking and building synergies for future engagement within the network as well as KAS involvement in the development of the scholarship beneficiaries.