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Return of the Lost Boys to South Sudan: A Strategy to Building a Stronger South Sudan
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
Pagination or Media Count:
In 2000, the United States resettled a group of young South Sudanese men, known as the Lost Boys, in the United States. Since their arrival, many of these Lost Boys have spoken of returning to South Sudan to help with reconstruction efforts after getting an education in the United States. The governments of South Sudan and the United States support their return, but only a few Lost Boys have returned so far, even though South Sudan peacefully became an independent country in July, 2011. This thesis investigates why these refugees, who have long expressed a desire to return home, are not returning in large numbers. The results show that variables generally cited in the literature i.e., family ties, securing occupational opportunities, and patriotism have similar value for those who have resettled permanently in the United States, those who have returned to South Sudan, and those who have expressed an interest in returning but have not done so. Personal factors such as age, marital status, income, and education level are found to contribute to overall risk averseness, which is highest among the resettled and lowest among the returned. On average, those in limbo about returning are younger, more likely to be single and childless, poorer, and less educated than those who have returned. Taken together, this suggests that they tend to be more risk averse, and thus policy interventions designed to reduce the risk associated with repatriation would serve to increase the return home of the Lost Boys. Based on these findings, this thesis recommends that the government of South Sudan, the Lost Boys, and the United States government work together to create a repatriation program for the Lost Boys who desire to return to their homeland.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE