Dua's memoir and film 'God Grew Tired of Us' detail Dua's life as one of the
4/16/2010 3:44:51 PM
LYNCHBURG– The 2010 Lynchburg Reads author John Bul Dua will speak at Randolph College April 21 at 8 p.m. in Smith Hall Theatre.
Dua will talk about his book and film, God Grew Tired of Us. The event is sponsored by Randolph College, the Holocaust Education Foundation of Central Virginia, and the Friends of the Lynchburg Public Library.
Dau was born in war-torn Sudan, and in 1987, his village was attacked by government troops involved in the civil war between the Muslim-controlled government in northern Sudan and the non-Muslims in southern Sudan. The violence scattered his family, and Dau was forced to travel on foot for three months until reaching the relative safety of Ethiopia.
Dau stayed in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for four years, but when civil war broke out in the region, he was once again forced to flee. As one of thousands of “Lost Boys of Sudan,” Dau wandered hundreds of miles and faced disease, starvation, and violence, until arriving in Kenya. While living in the Kenyan Kakuma refugee camp, he attended school for the first time and earned a prestigious Kenyan Certificate for Secondary Education in 2000. In 2001, he was brought to Syracuse, New York along with 140 other young Sudanese refugees.
Despite the initial culture shock — women driving cars, huge stores filled with food — Dau has succeeded in the United States and can proudly say that he is living the American dream. Not only was he able to bring his mother and sister from Sudan, but while working 60 hours a week as a security guard, he received an Associate’s degree from Onondago Community College. He is currently pursuing a degree in Policy Studies at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Additionally, Dau is an experienced social entrepreneur. He has founded three non-profit 501(c)3 organizations. In 2003, he helped establish The Sudanese Lost Boys Foundation of Central New York which raised over $35,000 for books and medical expenses for Lost Boys living in the United States. In 2005, Dau was instrumental in founding the American Care for Sudan Foundation which solicited funds to build and operate the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in Southern Sudan. He has raised more than $400,000 for the clinic. Currently, Dau is the President of the John Dau Sudan Foundation which was founded in July of 2007to develop health facilities that currently do not exist for most of the populations of Duk, Twic East and Bor South Counties in the State of Jonglei in Southern Sudan.
Dau’s move to the United States and early experiences in the country are the subject of the film God Grew Tired of Us, which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. His memoir, also entitled God Grew Tired of Us , was released in January 2007 by National Geographic Press.
Dau’s command of the English language has helped assure that his voice and the voice of the Sudanese is heard in the United States and around the world. He has become a successful national public speaker, focusing speeches on his life story and the importance of perseverance against all odds. His moving talks also focus on the importance of human rights and on ending the tragedy in Southern Sudan.
In his brief time in the United States, Dau has earned many awards for his public achievements and charitable work. He received a National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Award and was named a Volvo for Life Award finalist in the Quality of Life Category in 2008 which carried a contribution of $25,000 to the John Dau Sudan Foundation. As he continues to work to succeed in the United States he envisions a positive future for Sudan. He says, “I hope for my country to get out of war and secure a good government. I want Sudan to become a place where people are welcome and hope is restored.”
A book signing will follow the event.
CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations