South Sudan leader visiting USU while world watches independence referendum elections unfold

LOGAN – Honorable Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of mission for the Government of South Sudan Mission to the United States and the former Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement representative to the United States, will address students, faculty and the general public at Utah State University on Jan. 14. Gatkuoth is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m., at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Dean’s Convocation in the Orson A. Christensen Auditorium on the main floor of the business building on the USU campus. The convocation is free and open to the public. Gatkuoth served as a soldier in the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army. He now advocates for democratic transformation in the Sudan, implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, economic development for Southern Sudan and an immediate end to the crisis in Darfur. It is widely believed that the elections underway in the African nation of Sudan, will lead to the formation of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. Gatkuoth will offer insight into the historic events in Sudan that have led to a referendum vote for Southern Sudan’s secession from the north. The vote is part of a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of civil war between the Christian and Animist south and the Muslim north. South Sudan has been drawing world-wide attention since referendum voting started in the divided country Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. The focus of Gatkuoth’s address at Utah State is not on the past, but on the optimistic future of the new nation. He will outline the significant opportunities for business and investment in South Sudan. South Sudan’s economy has the potential to become one of the fastest growing in the world as has been the case with Sudan in the recent past. This thanks to the vast natural resources found in the south. South Sudan boasts many sectors with noteworthy investment potential. Such sectors include minerals — oil, gold, platinum — agriculture, infrastructure development and tourism, just to name a few. The timing of Gatkuoth’s trip to Utah State is significant, as voting is still underway in Sudan until Saturday, Jan. 15, when the polls officially close. “We are pleased that the Honorable Mr. Gatkuoth accepted our invitation to address the Huntsman School faculty and students at this critical time for South Sudan,” said Douglas D. Anderson, dean of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. “We are interested to learn more about South Sudan and its aspirations for democratic institutions and peaceful economic development. Global vision is one of the strategic pillars of our school. This is an exciting time for the South Sudanese. We wish them all the best as they seek to develop a new nation dedicated to peace and prosperity.” — The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University seeks to inspire and equip students to become innovative, ethical leaders with refined analytical skills that will help them understand and succeed in the global marketplace. The Huntsman School of Business is one of eight colleges at USU, located in northern Utah. More information on the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business may be found on the web (www.huntsman.usu.edu).

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