In light of this year's theme "Reconcile the Past; Shape the Future: Building Peace Within and Among Nations." We are excited for our two speakers that will serve to illuminate this theme from both a domestic and an international perspective.Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was an active participant in the United States civil rights movement. As a college student in the southern United States in the early 1960s, Joan lived in a world where blacks and whites were segregated. Joan was appalled by these injustices and became active in the civil rights movement. She participated in the sit-in movement (widespread acts of civil disobedience aimed at integrating public facilities like restaurants), the Freedom Rides (another act of civil disobedience that aimed to integrate public transportation), the March on Washington (a major protest of 300,000 people at which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream Speech"), as well as Freedom Summer (an effort to ensure blacks in Mississippi could vote, as they were often illegally prevented from doing so at that time). Ms. Mulholland's selfless efforts stand as a courageous example of the power of ordinary citizens to make changes in their communities and countries.Joan's son, Loki Mulholland, a filmmaker, created a documentary, An Ordinary Hero, which examines the tremendous courage of his mother during the civil rights movement.Deng Chol was born in South Sudan during an era of civil war. As a child who was too long deprived of parental love, forced to walk over a thousand miles across Africa, and illiterate until the age of 14, Deng firmly believes that no boy or girl should have the childhood he had: A child should not need to experience a civil war to be educated, nor to have trees as her classroom, sandy soils as notebooks, index fingers as pencil, or feet as erasers. This humble beginning has contributed to Deng’s character and capacity to stand up for the disadvantaged around the world.
Deng immigrated to the United States where he has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded to him, earning several degrees: a B. S. in Political Science, and minor in Economics from Arizona State University; an MBA in Global Business Management from the George Washington University School of Business; a Master of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Dubin fellow at the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. Deng was a co-Founder and Executive Director of the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, (U.S.A). He currently works as the Protection Technical Advisor at Samaritarian's Purse, an international relief NGO based in North Carolina.
Today, there are over 140 millions children in the world without access to basic education. Deng was supposed to be one of them, but only by miracle did he get the opportunity to learn. Deng's story serves as an important reminder of what refugees can become with support and opportunity.