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Lydia Minagano | South Sudan


Lydia Minagano is an activist and poet who is passionate about peace and gender equality. Currently, she serves as a peace and political affairs officer for the Swiss Embassy. She has years of experience in peace building, peace implementation monitoring, and women's security. Previously, Lydia served as the coordinator of the Peace Implementation Monitoring Initiative, a coalition of civil society and academia groups that monitors the South Sudanese peace processes, provides regular status reports, and supplies policy recommendations to different stakeholders. Lydia was also the women's representative at the Strategic Defense and Security Review Board, a mechanism of the 2018 Revitalized Agreements on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. She is a co-founder of Heroines? Unspoken Tales, a platform that amplifies women's voices by empowering women as the authors and the orators of their stories. She contributed to No Time to Mourn, an anthology of poetry, short stories, and art by South Sudanese women. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Lydia will use her skills to contribute to the building of peaceful communities that uphold women's and human rights.

What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon completion of your Fellowship? In particular, with the integration of your experiences with Drexel University?

I currently work as a peace and political affairs with the Swiss Cooperation office in South Sudan in the political directorate. I am passionate about peace building and my current job role resolves around this particular area. Upon completion of the program, i hope to engage on peace building at both grassroots and policy level.

What is your favorite thing about your home country? What are you most excited about learning about Philadelphia?

The food, the Nile and the warmth of my people. I am most interested in learning about Philadelphia's history: a number of new realities that makes me want to dig more and see the city. 

Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?

I love the Nile, I can sit at its shores just to watch its flow :), I enjoy physical activities(hiking, running), I fear pets. my perfect weekend would be to sit alone in a quite space read a book or watch a movie - I am a poet.

If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?

Any vegetable with Combo in it :). Combo is a local salt(sodiumbiocarbonate) made from ashes. it is used for cooking different types of vegetables and meats. one of South Sudanese favorite ingredient.