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David Atem gives an inspirational message to the 2017 graduates of Menno Simons College.

Former child soldier awarded MSC's Distinguished Alumni Award

Menno Simons College (MSC) is pleased to announce David Atem as the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

A former child soldier from South Sudan, Atem came to Canada as a refugee in 2001.

"I arrived in Canada with a lot of expectations of what I could do for my community back home," he says. "It wasn't easy to secure the things I needed to support myself, my children, and my community."

Atem graduated from MSC in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies. Since then, he has contributed to the wider community here in Winnipeg and in South Sudan.

In 2008, he worked to establish a bursary for students of African descent, to ease barriers to education at The University of Winnipeg.

Later, he founded a forum for dialogue on South Sudan, bringing together scholars, researchers, activists, politicians, and policy makers, to support peace and development in the world's newest country.

"David overcame tremendous personal challenges to not only complete his degree, but was also instrumental in forging meaningful and successful partnerships between the African and Canadian communities, all while raising three children as a single father," says Ruth Taronno, Director of Practicum.

Now, Atem works as an Academic Advisor with immigrant students at The University of Winnipeg. At the same time, he is working to complete his Masters degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba.

"Making a difference is measured through helping people. And there is nothing more important than helping a fellow human being." Atem said.

Read more stories like this one in our alumni magazine, MSC Currents.

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