Wednesday, November 9, 2011

'Lost Boys of Sudan' Speaker to Highlight International Education Week at UC - Nov 15th!

From UC News:

'Lost Boys of Sudan' Speaker to Highlight International Education Week at UC

Keynote speaker Bol Aweng was among 35,000 so-called 'Lost Boys' when he fled his village in southern Sudan when it came under attack by government troops in 1987.

Date: 10/12/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: International Programs
Photos By: Provided

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati highlights International Education Week with keynote speaker Bol Aweng, one of the 35,000 so-called Lost Boys who fled southern Sudan during the second Sudanese Civil War. Aweng will detail his life then and now when he speaks at UC from 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Room 400 A,B,C of Tangeman University Center (TUC). The event is free and open to the public.

Bol Aweng
Bol Aweng

As a six year old boy, Bol Aweng fled his village in 1987 when it was attacked, bombed and burned by government troops. While walking 1,500 miles to Ethiopia and then to Kenya, he survived attacks by government troops, starvation, illness and attacks by wild animals. 

Of the 35,000 Lost Boys that fled Southern Sudan, he was among the 16,000 who safely arrived in Kenya. Aweng spent fourteen years in refugee camps until he was approved for resettlement in the United States by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He arrived in Nashville, Tenn., in 2001, where he worked at low-wage jobs while earning an associate's degree in computer technology. He then moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend The Ohio State University. Aweng became a U.S. citizen in 2007 and graduated from OSU with a degree in fine arts.

Aweng returned to his Southern Sudanese village of Piol in December 2007. It was a bittersweet reunion with family he had not seen in 20 years. Seeing his mother, meeting new siblings and being with aging grandparents was exceptionally gratifying.  However he also learned details of family members who had not survived the destruction of his village. The living conditions in the village deeply concerned him. There were no buildings left after the bombing, only family tukals (huts) had been re-built. Families had very little food and there were no schools.  Very few in the village could read or write, and only one person in the village had a job.  The only health care was provided by a young man who had a second grade education in English.  He had a chair and a card table and a small box of malaria medications, aspirin and cough syrup provided by UNICEF. 

At his UC appearance, Aweng will describe how he is using his skills and experience to make a difference in his Sudanese community. He and others are determined to operate a health clinic to meet the basic healthcare needs in their village. Learn more about this project at

To learn more about the Lost Boys of Sudan, attend a showing of “God Grew Tired of Us” prior to the event. The film will be shown from 2-4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14, in the MainStreet Cinema.See for a complete listing of events scheduled during International Education Week.

International Education Week at UC is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

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