March 6, 2011
A Conversation with Emmanuel Jal

I believe I survived for a reason…to tell my story…to touch lives. ~ Emmanuel Jal

We were honored to welcome Emmanuel Jal to our program. In the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child solider on an unknown date in the early 1980s. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences. His new single, “We Want Peace,” is heavily influenced by this background.

Emmanuel has released three studio albums: Gua, Ceasefire and Warchild. His music can also be heard alongside Coldplay, Gorillaz, and Radiohead on the fundraising Warchild – Help a Day in the Life album, as well as in three ER episodes, the National Geographic documentary God Grew Tired of Us and in the feature film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He is also featured on John Lennon’s Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, amongst the likes of U2, REM and Lenny Kravitz.

Emmanuel’s live appearances have included Live 8 and Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert. He has performed with acts such as Faithless, Razorlight, Supergrass and Fat Boy Slim in Europe and has toured the United States as part of the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival, in which he performed in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Jal also performed with Moby and Five for Fighting in the 2007 live concert film, The Concert To End Slavery and, more recently, with Alicia Keys at her Black Ball in New York. Emmanuel is in demand as a speaker and has addressed the UN, US Congress and the highest tiers of several governments. In 2010 alone he has been involved with the British Council, Clinton Global Initiative, Adolescent Girls Initiative (World Bank in association with the Nike Foundation), Child Soldiers Initiative and the launch of Ericsson’s Refugee Reunited Software. He was one of the faces of Amnesty International’s 2010 World Refugee Day Campaign and appeared at Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Black Ball 2010 in London.

Emmanuel’s press and media coverage includes interviews with the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, BBC Newsnight, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, MTV and many more outlets worldwide. His 2009 TED Global talk has achieved tens of thousands of YouTube hits.

In 2008 a full-length documentary on his life was released. The film, Warchild, won 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. In the same year, his autobiography, also called Warchild, was published.

Despite his accomplishments in music and film, Jal’s biggest passion is Gua Africa, the charity he has founded to work with individuals, families and communities to help them overcome the effects of war and poverty . Besides building schools, the charity provides scholarships for Sudanese war survivors in refugee camps and sponsors education for children in the most deprived slum areas in Nairobi. Gua Africa recently reached the target amount of $220,000 needed to complete the first phase of an education centre in Leer, in Jal’s native South Sudan, and is now fundraising for Phase 2.

To learn more about Emmanuel, please visit www.We-Want-Peace.com!









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