Nationality

Canada

Education

LLM in Child Law, Faculty of Law, Northumbria University Newcastle, United Kingdom

Bachelor's Degree in Law, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Bachelor's Degree in Criminology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Certificate in Project Planning and Management, MS-Training Centre for Development Cooperation, Arusha, Tanzania

Languages

English, French, Kiswahili, Southern Sudanese Arabic

I was a child soldier. At a very young age I participated in the liberation war that toppled Idi Amin of Uganda. His regime had proven brutal for the Ugandan population; my father was one of his victims. I joined the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces as an interpreter and bodyguard for one of the commanders. After serving for a brief period I was allowed to return to school.

Simmering tension, however, continued to lend to a volatile political climate. In 1985, another military ruler seized power in Uganda. People close to me were imprisoned, including my eldest brother. As a former fighter who had been close to the opponents of this new regime, I found myself fleeing to neighbouring Kenya and later to Ethiopia in late January 1986. I was subsequently moved to a Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)- controlled area in southern Sudan and stayed there as part of a Ugandan fighting group hosted by the SPLA. I was determined to exit the situation as soon as possible. My life was not to be ruled by war, and I refused to build my identity in conflict. After many attempts at escape, I finally walked over 45 miles from Narus in Southern Sudan.

Scraped and bleeding. Once beaten, twice shy. I was received by the United Nations Children’s Fund and handed over to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). I had finally left the life of war behind me and looked forward to what would turn out to be a new beginning. Hope was on my side; I was determined to dedicate my life’s work to replace war and impunity with peace and stability.

Immense fortune awaited me at the least likely of all places: a Hagodera refugee camp. My hard work and ethics combined with a valid opportunity that allowed me to finally continue my education. Under UNHCR protection, I received a scholarship to study in Canada through the World University Service of Canada. I pursued a degree in Criminology and graduated with distinction. While in school I participated in two internships. The first was with the Edmonton Police Sexual Assault and Child Abuse section, and the second with UNHCR at my former refugee camp in Kenya. There I conducted research on the incidence of sexual violence in the refugee camps and the ways to prevent it. I then proceeded to law school where, in my second year, I held an internship with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha. After graduation, I joined the Canadian Department of Justice as a counsel.

My goal had always been to work for the United Nations. I believe strongly that it is the most viable vehicle for achieving world peace. I have seen first-hand the effects of war on women and children. I witnessed the horrors of sexual assault on innocent victims. I have held and will always hold the goal of changing these tragic conditions. And the only way to do this is to work alongside the United Nations in any capacity I can. I want to be able to help other people become what I am today.

I now channel my energy into combating the types of injustices I experienced as a child. I learned this from my grandfather. He once told me that there are three kinds of people on earth: the foolish, the clever, and the wise. When a fool meets an obstacle, he falls into it and is crushed. When the clever person meets one, he walks around it. When the wise person meets one, however, he gets into it, finds a solution, and makes sure it is no longer an obstacle. I am proud to say that I am helping the United Nations find solutions by finding justice for survivors of conflict, violence, and abuse.

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