South Sudanese youth are inspired to learn space science and technology after interacting virtually with Chinese astronauts Wednesday.
The Chinese embassy in South Sudan on Wednesday invited the participants of the “My Dream” painting competition and the “Human Community with a Shared Future” thematic writing contest to join an event on “Shared Space: China-Africa Dreams” where African youth, including South Sudanese youth, interacted virtually with Chinese astronauts.
The “My Dream” painting competition aims at promoting people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in space exploration between China and Africa. The painting competition was co-hosted by the secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China Manned Space Engineering Office and Chinese missions in African countries.
Mayen Kuol, an artist and winner of the painting competition, said that South Sudan can benefit a lot if some of its youth enroll in studies in space technology.
Kuol’s work that won him the prize was based on a ten-year-old South Sudanese boy dreaming of being an astronaut in years to come, but this dream is not realized due to the challenging environment he lives in.
“We have a lot of young children who aspire to be astronauts but they don’t have the support. I am sure South Sudan can have a brighter future in the space industry,” Kuol told Xinhua in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Gatwech Koak Nyuon, the secretary-general of the government of Jonglei state in South Sudan and second prize winner of the “Human Community with a Shared Future” thematic writing contest, said he has come to realize how space science and technology could impact human shared value in a very positive way.
Currently, South Sudan is suffering from climate change. “We lack satellite technology to give us reliable information to deal with climate change. I think the experience with Chinese astronauts has demonstrated to us how technology can positively contribute to South Sudan,” he said.
Ma Qiang, Chinese ambassador to South Sudan, said the Chinese embassy is supporting the University of Juba in establishing the Chinese cultural center and is continuously providing scholarships and training opportunities to South Sudanese students.
The purpose of Wednesday’s event as well as the painting competition and the thematic writing contest “is to inspire the South Sudanese youth to raise heads to appreciate the starry sky, to establish lofty ideals, and to actively think about how this nation could achieve development,” Ma said.