PROFILES – Women are crucial contributors to their societies. They are the ones who cross ethnic and religious borders and who see to the healthy development of their children. They are the ones to advocate for education, employment and new opportunities for young people.
Women had made enormous contributions in the liberation struggle. Their immense contributions to the birth of this nation are beyond any measurement. They are architects of our history and for clearing the way for future generations to live in a more equitable society.
Women are peace loving people. Peace can only last when women are also involved, that is why they are important in leadership roles in South Sudan. South Sudanese women have also made a lot of contributions in our society. They have participated a lot in the struggle of our people. They have made significant sacrifices; one of these women who we all proud of is Hon. Sarah Cleto Rial, The Only Newly Appointed Female Governor in R-TGONU.
Sarah Cleto Rial is a force to reckon with; full of energy, unstoppable and unforgettable. The executive director and brain behind Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan (GaPPSS), a not-for-profit organization that promotes peace throughout South Sudan and among South Sudanese in the Diaspora, Sarah’s plate is still not full.
A peace and human rights activist/advocate, Sarah has, for more than 20 years, been at the forefront of organizing communities, has led and supported successful programs that build sustainable peace, promoted equal access to services, challenged harmful gender norms, and promoted women and girls’ education, empowerment and leadership through quality evidence-based programming.
Since 2011 to date, Sarah has diligently served as a part-time finance administrator for South Sudanese Enrichment for Families (SSEF), Lincoln, Massachusetts. SSEF is the only whole-family resource dedicated to South Sudanese who have resettled in Massachusetts. She juggles this role alongside an equally demanding job; she’s a program coordinator for Rippel Foundation, Cambridge, MA, a position she has held since 2017. Sarah has a vast experience in program development /project management; supporting the strategic direction of large-scale programs, setting budgets and managing risks, building partnerships and maintaining organizational governance.
Prior to her current appointment as Governor, Sarah was the senior executive assistant to the CEO, Management Sciences for Health, Medford, MA (2016 – 2017), and strategy program analyst, South Sudan Enrichment for Families, Boston, MA (2015-2017). She also served as program director for My Sister’s Keeper, Boston, MA (2005 – 2016), a position where she directed educational and advocacy programs, supported local community programs in South Sudan and led international activism for peace in Sudan and South Sudan.
1999). In this role, she promoted research on topics of mutual interest to scholars and policy makers in the Middle East and Africa in collaboration with the Director. In addition, she assisted in daily office management, supported scholars, and organized series of public lectures and conferences.-From 1996 to 2004, Sarah juggled many roles including assistant director, Office of African Studies, American University in Cairo, Egypt (1996
Sarah also served as assistant director, American Anti-Slavery Group, Boston, MA (2000 – 2001), raising awareness about slavery in Sudan and the plight of those in bondage. While then joined First Lutheran Church, Lynn, MA where she worked as outreach worker from 2001 – 2004. In this role, she provided general social services support for newly resettled refugees, including education, housing, and employment. During the same time period (2001 – 2004) she signed on for another job as employment services manager for Catholic Charities, Boston, MA, where she oversaw employment services for refugees including job training, search and placement, referral of clients for employment and training support among other immigration services.
Sarah also worked as a community programs case manager, Lynn Community Health Center, Lynn, MA Charities, Boston, MA (2004 – 2005), managing case files and providing social service support.
Sarah’s achievements speak for her industriousness. In 2010, she was bestowed the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – one of three US national recipients. In 2007, she was crowned one of the Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She received two nods for excellence in 2006; a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Leadership, University of Massachusetts and a Boston College and Community Service Award. In 1998, Sarah won the Middle East Research Competition (MERC) Seed Grant for research project proposal on the role of women in liberated areas of Southern Sudan, and in 1993 she was awarded the Ford Foundation Scholarship to study at the American University in Cairo.
Sarah holds a Certificate of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Rotary Peace Center, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (2014). She obtained a graduate Certificate, Program for Women in Politics and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA (2006). Sarah obtained a M.A., Political Science / Professional Development, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt in1996 and a B.S., Statistics and Demography, College of Social and Economic Studies, University of Juba, Juba, Sudan in 1991.
Sarah’s leadership positions and affiliations include; Member, Board of Trustees, Pingree School, South Hamilton, MA (2019); Fellow, Human Rights Watch, USA (2017); President, South Sudanese Community of Massachusetts (2015); Rotary Peace Fellow, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (2014); Founder and President, Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan (GaPPSS), USA (2012); Senior Fellow, The Enough Project, USA (2012); Member, Board of Trustees, Brookwood School, Manchester, MA (2011); Board Member, South Sudanese Enrichment for Families (2009); Co-founder and President, African Women Empowerment Group (AWEG), Inc., Lynn, MA (2001); President, Sudanese Women Alliance (SWA), Cairo, Egypt (1997); President, African Cultural Society, Cairo, Egypt (1995); Assistant Secretary General, African Students Association, American University in Cairo, Egypt (1994); and Secretary of Finance, Juba University Southern Students Association, Juba, Sudan (1986).
Sarah hails from Golo tribe in Abu Shaka village in Western Bahr El Ghazal, she was born on November 10, 1967; she is a mother of three boys. She is fluent in English and Arabic.
Sarah is a lady of many talents. Her skills include:
• Conflict resolution
• International relations and diplomacy
• Strong statistics foundation and experience in census enumeration and demography
• Strategic thinking and analytical skills
• Community outreach and organizing
• Culturally diverse and passionate about cross-cultural communication/collaboration
• Excellent communication and leadership
• Organization and prioritization skills
• Teamwork and Leadership
• Extensive management
• Capacity building
• Public speaking
• Proficient in Microsoft Office, Excel, PowerPoint, QuickBooks and other computer software.
• Asana project management software.