John Bul Dau at Hamilton College. (Photo Courtesy of the John Dau Foundation website)

Mesa Community College welcomes human rights activist John Bul Dau as part of its Evening Lecture series

In part of its Evening Lecture series, Mesa Community College will welcome human rights activist John Bul Dau on April 17 to share his story and message of hope and resilience. 

According to the John Dau foundation website, Dau has won many prestigious awards such as the National Geographic Emerging Explorers Award and was a Volvo for Life finalist in the Quality of Life category. 

In 1987, the ethnic minority community of Southern Sudan was attacked by the Arab government from the north, forcing Dau and 27,000 other boys from their villages.

The John Dau Foundation website adds that Dau guided groups of displaced boys over hundreds of miles in Sudan over the course of the following five years, while they battled malnourishment, illness, and acts of brutality. After being sent to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya in 1992, he eventually obtained a basic education at the age of 17.

Dau’s story has grabbed the attention of many through his memoir “God Grew Tired of Us” and through the popular documentary of the same name which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

 Dau’s foundation site also states that Dau is currently the head of the South Sudan Institute and the John Dau Foundation. He founded four nonprofit organizations and had a significant impact on numerous initiatives aimed at giving the people of South Sudan hope and peace. 

Dau has now raised more than $3 million to construct and manage the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in his hometown of Duk Payuel, with assistance from American volunteers.

MCC welcomes Dau to its Southern and Dobson campus for a free discussion titled “Finding hope in adversity” that is open to the public. Dau will speak on his experiences from surviving the atrocities of war and famine to becoming a university graduate, nonprofit founder and inspirational speaker. 

The upcoming presentation is funded through the Maricopa Behavioral Health Grant, which is sponsored by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the Maricopa County Community College District.

“We are honored to have Mr. Dau in our community to share his story that will foster empathy and understanding,” said MCC psychology professor and Psi Beta National Honor Society Advisor Mia Palmer. 

“His message is inspirational and can encourage us to become agents of positive change in the world. His legacy of survival and perseverance is uplifting and will inspire our students as they study to work in the behavioral health fields,” Palmer added.

The Finding Hope in Adversity presentation will take place on April 17 in the performing arts center at MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus at 7 p.m.

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