VP, Corporate Social Responsibility
Valentino joined Black Rhino in 2012, six years after forming his non-profit “Valentino Achak Deng Foundation” to help rebuild South Sudanese Communities. The Foundation’s first major initiative has been the creation of a community-driven educational center in Marial Bai, South Sudan.
Before starting his foundation he fled South Sudan in the late 1980s during the second Sudanese civil war, when his village was destroyed by murahaleen—a militia group currently terrorizing the Darfur region of Sudan. When he fled the war, he spent 9 years in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, where he worked for the UNHCR as a social advocate and reproductive health educator. He was an early member of the Clinton Global Initiative and a UNICEF Ambassador where he focused on raising awareness in America for the creation of an independent Republic of South Sudan.
In 2001, he moved to Atlanta, GA. While in the United States, he toured the country speaking about his life in South Sudan and his experience as a refugee. He co-authored an autobiography with author Dave Eggers called What Is the What, the novelized version of his life story. He is a leader in the South Sudanese diaspora and he advocates for the universal right to education.
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