Ms. Pauline Riak

portrait of Ms. Pauline Riak

Ms. Pauline Riak was appointed as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement in December 2019. A graduate of Stanford University (USA), she is the first of only two female full professors at university level in South Sudan. She is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research at the Rumbek University of Science and Technology, South Sudan and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Sudd Institute, a leading think thank research organization in South Sudan. A trained and experienced mediator in gendered and inclusive techniques for sustainable peace building, Professor Riak is a signatory to the Revitalized Peace Agreement to the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and a member of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) that oversees the work of the mechanisms for the implementation of the R-ARCSS.

The founder of the Sudanese Women’s Association in Nairobi (SWAN) through which she mentored the growth and empowerment of over 800 women in exile and whose active members made up more than 75% of the prominent political and military women leaders in the first government of independent South Sudan, co-founder of the South Sudanese Women’s Coalition for Peace and Development (SSWCPD) and former Chairperson of the South Sudan Anti-corruption Commission (with national ministerial portfolio) for six years, Professor Riak’s work experience in South Sudan and the Great Lakes region at large encompasses a wide range of fields from academia to the private, public and social sectors. She brings strong leadership and management expertise to all her work endeavors, understands the nuances of working politically at all levels of government and how to build institutions to be both functional and resilient through an approach that is collaborative and focuses on sound research and analysis, bringing key stakeholders to the table, maximizing collective strengths and building consensus.

As a Professor of Sociology at Kenyatta University in Kenya, she established and led the Sociology Department for four years. Later, at the University of Juba (UJ) in South Sudan, she nurtured the establishment and development of the National Transformational Leadership Institute (NTLI). In the past two years the institute has trained over 3000 women leaders across the nation on Transformational leadership, Peace building and reconciliation, Economic empowerment and the Prevention of gender-based violence. Professor Riak is deeply passionate about the education of women and girls, peace building and reconciliation and firmly believes in the capacity and ability of Africans to work together to build strong resilient cultures of peace.