17 February 2011 – Upper Nile State youth gathered in the state capital Malakal to establish a youth union during a two-day conference that started yesterday.
Themed "peace initiative among the communities, unity of youth, democracy and development of the state", the conference was opened by Upper Nile State Governor Simon Kon Pouch, and attended by the State Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport John Thomas as well as 60 participants drawn from state counties.
In his opening remarks, the governor appreciated the role played by the youth during last April's national elections and Southern Sudan's self-determination referendum, held last month.
"The youth are the cornerstone of the nation. Without you, there will be no development. Therefore you must work and stand together as one family we will be ready to support your efforts through the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport," said Governor Pouch.
"If you have no organized body, you will not be able to perform any activities, so you must work hard to promote peace in the state," Minister Thomas said, encouraging participants to help strengthen their communities. "The activities of the union will make you good managers in the future."
Meanwhile the chairperson of the Upper Nile Youth Association in Juba, Mayang Lul Kuon, urged the youth to cooperate with state authorities. "You must initiate the spirit of teamwork and love among yourselves," Mr. Kuon said.
Originally initiated in Khartoum in 2006, the Upper Nile Youth Association was formed in Juba in 2010 to facilitate development activities of the youth.