Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Australian of the Year
National Finalist Australian of the Year 2017
Child soldier turned successful Lawyer
At the age of six, Deng Adut was snatched from his mother and forced to fight in the war that eventually split his homeland of Sudan. Trained to use an AK-47 and expected to either kill or be killed, Deng was eventually smuggled out of Sudan into Kenya before making it to Australia in 1998. Deng’s life journey has taken him from an illiterate child soldier to a criminal lawyer making a difference in Western Sydney. His remarkable story has spread around the world, and has inspired millions of people, thanks to a viral video made by his alma mater, Western Sydney University. Now studying for a second Master’s degree, 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.