Mathiang Gutnyin, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” will speak at Roane State Community College’s Oak Ridge campus on Wednesday.
Presented by Roane State’s Office of International Education, the event starts at 6 p.m. in the City Room and is free and open to the public. The campus is located at 701 Briarcliff Ave. in Oak Ridge.
The phrase “Lost Boys of Sudan” describes thousands of children, mostly boys between ages 7 and 17, separated from their families and forced to live in refugee camps during the Second Sudanese Civil War from 1983-2005. Approximately 3,800 “Lost Boys,” a description coined by aid workers in Africa, were allowed to settle in the United States in 2001.
In his biography, Gutnyin describes his journey. He was born in 1981 in the Kongoor area of Jonglei, one of 10 states in what is now South Sudan. Six years later, he walked 800 miles to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Political unrest in Ethiopia forced him to flee to Kenya in 1992, and in 1993, Gutnyin attended first grade. He was 13.
While he was reunited with his family in 1995 after seven years of separation, Gutnyin was the only member of his family who was able to come to the United States in 2001. He settled in High Point, N.C., worked at a furniture company and earned his GED at Randolph Community College in 2006.
He took courses at High Point University and Guilford Technical Community College between 2006 and 2008 and then enrolled at Maryville College in 2009. He is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in international business with a minor in accounting and plans to graduate in May.
Gutnyin is committed to service. He was youth deputy secretary for Sudanese refugees residing in the Greensboro and High Point area from 2008 to 2009. He tutors at the Everett Learning Opportunity Center in Maryville as part of his Maryville College Bonner Scholarship, which emphasizes volunteer service. He is a council member for the Bonner Scholarship program, a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies, a participant in Maryville College’s Program for International and Civic Leadership, and a board member for the Sudanese Lost Boy and Girls Volunteers Association.
For more information about Gutnyin’s visit, contact Roane State professor Saeed Rahmanian by phone at (865) 354-3000, ext. 2238, or by e-mail at [email protected].