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Deng Adut - report from Switch 2016

Switch 2016, the NSW public library conference,  was held in Ulladulla on the south coast of NSW from 22-24 November. It was great to be welcomed to Murramarang country by a local elder, Uncle Fred

Deng Adut was one of the keynote speakers for this conference.

Deng Adut is the New South Wales Australian of the year . Deng arrived in Australia as a teen aged refugee from South Sudan.  He was smuggled out of the country by his brother, escaping his former life as a child soldier.  He describes himself as "the most lucky man in the world" and is now a successful lawyer in Blacktown and a passionate advocate for education because "everything is possible because of education". 

TAFE was key to his education, and the library was like a second home.  He admits that he is in love with books. Libraries have played an important role in Deng's new life in Australia They have helped him in his pursuit of education and he says "I don't go to church or mosque. I go to Libraries. You meet a great congregation there!".
Deng highlighted the importance of valuing diversity, something libraries are committed to, and a priority for him in building his law firm.  He described the value of "inclusive thinking" something he has found in libraries, emphasising that "fairness should always come first".
Deng has co-authored a biography about his life, Songs Of a War Boy.
"misunderstanding goes away with education" Deng Adut.

If you missed the conference you can still review the Twitter conversation via this Storify. 

Blog post by Mylee Joseph.