International Mindedness and Water for South Sudan

Sep 10, 2018

By Dennis L. Stuebing, PhD

CAS, Experience Week & Service Coordinator at TIS

In 2011, South Sudan became the newest, officially recognized country in the world. After its independence and decades of armed conflict which displaced 4 million people, South Sudan is now ranked near the bottom of the UN Human Development Index at 181 out of 188.

South Sudan is located in central Africa, nearly 9000 kms away from Macau. The conditions and experiences of its people make that distance seem even farther when compared to our own surroundings of opulence and wealth. But all of that is about to change with the launch of TIS’ inaugural Activist-in-Residence Program. For two full days in November, Salva Dut, founder of Water for South Sudan, will share his story as a ‘lost boy’ and explain how he has responded to the needs of his community. He will meet students, parents and community members in an effort to inspire others to bring to life the TIS mission “to problem solve, think critically, and make positive changes in our global community”. In so doing, we hope he can span the distance and differences between Macau and South Sudan.

Many people might use the term “global citizen” to refer to someone who is aware of issues or problems experienced by people in a far-away place. If you research the concept you will likely find little to no consensus on its definition. And, if you unpack the words within the concept you will find that ‘citizen’ refers to a relationship between an individual and the state. Beyond the absence of a ‘global’ state, the term is sometimes further considered problematic as citizenship can be used to intentionally exclude some people from receiving benefits and services based on, for example, ethnicity, age, gender or other social factors. Nonetheless, the idea that TIS “values the importance of developing socially responsible students who are willing to make a difference in their community” (The TIS Service Aim) includes the opportunity to define “community” in places outside of Macau. The acknowledgement of a responsibility toward others in need, including in distant locations like South Sudan has been described another way, as international mindedness.

Through Salva Dut’s ‘residency’ at TIS we expect that students (and families) will learn about South Sudan and the need for clean, safe water. We hope that the Activist-in-Residence program will facilitate a deeper understanding about the connection between the actions we make in our daily lives, and the impact of those actions on people and other places in the world. Moreover, we want to provide the opportunity for our students (and families) to take action and assist Water for South Sudan to achieve its mission to deliver “direct, transformative and sustainable quality of life service to the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water and improving hygienic practices in areas of great need”.

Macau is not ranked, Canada is 10, and Hong Kong is 12.   For more information please see: UNDP Human Development Report.  (2016).  Human Development Index.  Taken from:  

Salva Dut, Founder of Water for South Sudan will be TIS’ inaugural Activist-in-Residence, 1 & 2 November, 2019. Salva’s residency will be facilitated by Inspire Citizens, a teacher-created collective “that inspires all students and educators to co-create globally-minded, holistic and customized project-based learning environments”. Inspire Citizens will support teachers and build capacity in advance of Salva’s arrival, on September 14 & 15.

For more information about Inspire Citizens. please visit:

For more information about Salva Dut and Water for South Sudan, please visit:


Dennis L. Stuebing has a doctorate in Global Studies from the University of Saint Joseph (Macau).  His research on children's rights focussed on protection and participation.  He brings years of experience in project management and policy analysis to the role of CAS, Experience Week, and Service Coordinator at TIS.


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