South Sudan Unite 2018

June 29th – July 1st | Phoenix, Arizona

The Fourth annual South Sudan Unite event took place on June 29th, 2018 – July 1st, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Like every year, the goal was more than sharing fun and information; it intended to highlight, to celebrate and to unite all the people of South Sudan and especially the youth in the diaspora. The Theme of this year’s SSU was Mental Health.

Day 1

Professional Panelists and Workshops

Day 2

Morning: A Community Day Festival
Evening: A Cultural Night Celebration

Day 3

A Fashion and Arts Showcase

Workshops & Panelist Discussions

The first event of four took place on Friday, June 2 at Pilgrim Rest Foundation. The day was a combination of masterclasses led by our panelist and several organizations covering a vast amount of topic that are beneficial to our audience and our communities. The focus of the masterclasses included but not limited to the following topics: bullying, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, higher education – Ivy league schools and beyond, Know Your Rights: Police Encounters, Human Trafficking, Global Market: Entrepreneurship for Women, Fashion and so much more. With the theme being mental health, a preliminary session on the topic was held where mental health practitioner led and encouraged participation while giving adequate support to those who needed it.

The workshop facilitators, panelist, and speakers included:

  • Michael Donnelly, Mental Health First Aid Certified Trainer
  • Thokriel Manyiel and Susan Agoth, Depression and losing someone to Suicide and Importance of checking in.
  • Bandak Lul, Human Trafficking Researcher at Arizona State University
  • Isaac Tut, Physics, Math and an Aerospace Engineer
  • Kuoth Wiel, Actress and Model
  • Alice Sabuni, Environmental Specialist for Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate
  • Moses Tut, Founder of Sioux Falls Youth Initiative
  • Grace Bol, International Supermodel
  • Nyajuok Deng, Graduate of the Howard University School of Law in Washington DC
  • Buay Tut, Admissions Counselor at Stanford University
  • Killa Janda, Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department for Political Affairs in Africa I Division in New York
  • Lual Mayen, Developer & Organizer of Global Game Jam (GGJ) and CEO Junub Games
  • Nyma Tang, Entrepreneur, Blogger and Makeup Artist

Morning: Community Day Festival (CDF)

The SSU 2018 CDF, the second event was held at The Salvation Army Kroc Center on June 30th. Children and young adults came out to play basketball while enjoying the pool and bouncy castle in the center. Everyone enjoyed the music played by DJ Bako as well as the delicious cultural food cooked by the beautiful South Sudanese mothers and sisters in Phoenix. Luol Deng talked about the strength in unity — that unity is the utmost importance if we want to make progress and grow as a nation. It was a crucial and heartfelt subject matter.

Evening: Cultural Night

The community Day Festival was followed by Cultural Night at the Orpheum Theatre on June 30th. A family-friendly function hosted by Luol Deng , it was sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. It aimed to encourage an experience of cultural art, music as well as recognize and celebrate those excelling in their profession in the diaspora through award recognition. Performances from the night included an incredible lineup of our own South Sudanese Superstars including award winning artist Dynamq, Mr. Independent, Rapper Hot Dogg, Professor Nasir, Bafo Joseph & Amac Don. The show opened up with South Sudanese children dancing to different South Sudanese songs. Cultural dances were in full display and the audience participated and celebrated together with no boundaries, no division and pure love.

The audience also got to celebrate our Diaspora Award recipients Sarah Duku and Malat Deng Lueth and for the first time ever, Achievement Award recipient was created to celebrate the amazing Nyma Tang.

The Fashion and Arts Showcase (FAS)

Closing the SSU weekend with a bang! We celebrated  our South Sudanese designers, artists, crafters, musicians, models and returning for a second consecutive year Interpertal Dancer Tina Lugor. The Fashion and Arts Showcase was held at the Warehouse 215, Bentley projects organised by Nyamuoch Girwath and Winnie Mayar. It was a night of meaningful art and messages. A memorable moment was when Super Model Grace Bol humbly graced the catwalk. This night was designed to use Art as an expression to inform and address some of the issues and challenges facing the South Sudanese diaspora. Performance including the incredible return of the one and only Yaba Angelosi, an electrifying combination of fashion meets arts meets music by Bafo Joseph, performances by Amac Don, super producer Wad haj yousif, Manaje Bone and an emotional, soul touching skits by the amazing Tina which left no dry eyes in the room. This is something that you should not miss next year!

At the end of the show all the attendants joined hands and prayed for healing, peace and Unity in South Sudan symbolizing optimism and hope for the future.

A Focus on Mental Health

South Sudan Unite logo
Luol Deng Foundation logo