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Sudanese ‘lost boy' speaks at BSC about his refugee experience

Published: Oct 02 2015

John Dau
               John Dau
A former lost boy from war-torn South Sudan speaks about his personal and public journey to create change Wednesday, Oct. 7, in two community presentations at Bismarck State College.

John Dau discusses the award-winning documentary, "God Grew Tired of Us," at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Bavendick Stateroom of BSC's National Energy Center of Excellence.

The documentary explores the story of three "lost boys of Sudan," a group of Dinka youth who fled civil war in their homeland, spent a decade growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp, and eventually settled in the United States.

"God Grew Tired of Us" won the audience and critics' awards for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.  

The film also captures Dau's own story. Born into the Dinka tribe, Dau survived an attack on his village at age 12. The violence scattered his family, and he was forced to travel on foot for three months before reaching relative safety in Ethiopia. He lived in an Ethiopian refugee camp for four years until civil war broke out there. Dau fled again to wander hundreds of miles, facing near starvation before reaching a Kenyan refugee camp, where he attended school for the first time.

In 2001, Dau was one of 3,800 young Sudanese resettled in the United States and one of 140 "lost boys" taken to New York. He has since brought his mother and sister from Sudan. While working 60 hours a week in three jobs, Dau earned an associate degree from Onondaga Community College. In 2011, he graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in policy studies. Founder of several non-profit organizations, Dau started the Duk Lost Boys Medical Clinic in South Sudan. He initiated the South Sudan Institute in 2010 and helped start a primary school and library in Duk County.

Sponsored by BSC Embracing Diversity, the program is free and open to the public.

About Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities.