Deng Thiak Adut is a defence layer and refugee advocate in Western Sdyney and a former child soldier from South Sudan.
His remarkable story has spread around the world, and has inspired millions of people, thanks to a viral video made by Western Sydney University, where he earned his law degree.
Deng Adut, lawyer, author and community advocate
In 2016 he was selected to give the prestigious Australia Day Address at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2017 Deng was named the New South Wales Australian of the Year.Deng co-founded AC Law Group and fights for members of the Sudanese community from his home in Blacktown. While his life is now a long way from the privations of his childhood, Deng inspires others with his story of triumph over tragedy, and of the contributions that refugees can make to Australia’s rich community.
To honour his brother, Deng established the John Mac Foundation to further education and justice in Australia and Sudan, including providing university scholarships for people from refugee backgrounds
Deng has written a book, Songs of a War Boy, in which he talks about tails his harrowing experience as a child soldier in Sudan. Through the book he shares his deeply moving and inspiring story as an important reminder of the transformative effect of compassion and of how we can all benefit from opening our doors and hearts to those fleeing war, persecution and trauma.
Deng taught himself to read, write and speak English while working to support himself and his family back home. He went on to study undergraduate law at Western Sydney University (WSU), subsequently earning a UOW Master of Criminal Law.
He is also an active contributor to the Parramatta Community Justice Clinic, and has given countless hours to mentoring to help the next generation to both access and contribute to a brighter future.
Deng is a living example of the power of education to change lives. He devotes many hours of his personal time every week to mentoring, advising and supporting members of his community. He regularly acts as a spokesperson for the Sudanese community and has frequently appeared in the media to advocate for their interests.
Deng is committed to making a positive difference and, in doing so, inspires others to do the same.