City of Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada
Country of origin: South Sudan
Arrival in the U.S.: 2001
In 1987, when Mr. Atem was seven years old, civil war drove him and another estimated 20,000 boys from their families and villages in southern Sudan. This group of children who fled to escape death and induction into the northern Sudanese army would come to be known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. After fleeing his country, Mr. Atem spent 13 years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya before he was resettled to the United States in 2001. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife and son, holds an MBA, owns a house, and works for a Fortune 500 company. In 2014, Fortune Magazine named him among the 50 “Heroes of the 500.” Mr. Atem also founded the South Sudan Center of America, a non-profit organization that strives for the education and well-being of South Sudanese people in the United States and abroad. The organization helps immigrants meet basic needs, provides scholarships, and organizes cultural celebrations. Mr. Atem says that his most proud of his work inspiring young people to stay out of trouble, finish school, and become role models in the community.
Word for US: Freedom