Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier from Sudan, is a celebrated public speaker, musician, actor, campaigner for peace, and author of the autobiography Warchild. From his start in life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s, Jal has overcome many challenges to become an acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador. He has addressed the United Nations, US Congress, Richard Branson’s Virgin United conference on global leadership and philanthropy, various governments throughout the world, and many other venues.
Emmanuel Jal has released five award-nominated studio albums: The Key, Gua, Ceasefire, Warchild. and See Me Mama. His live appearances have included Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert and the One Concert for his Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has collaborated and performed alongside artists such as Lauryn Hill, Xavier Rudd, Peter Gabriel, Nelly Furtado, Ed Sheeran, and Alicia Keys.
In 2008 a full-length documentary on Jal's life, Warchild, won 12 film festival awards worldwide. He costarred with Reese Witherspoon in The Good Lie, which tells the story about the journey of four Sudanese refugees who win a lottery for relocation to the United States. Jal also appeared as the lead in Africa United.
Jal has been involved with a number of global charity organisations, including the British Council, the Child Soldiers Initiative, Amnesty International, and Oxfam. He has spoken alongside Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-Moon, and The Elders Group, and Jal also has performed at the G20 summit in Mexico. He has received numerous awards for his peace efforts, including recognition from Ban Ki Moon at the UN. He has been awarded the Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Award 2017, Hero in the Global Campaign Against Violent Extremism Award – UNESCO 2016, The Hunt Humanitarian Award, The Dresden Peace Prize, and The Common Ground Award.
In 2010, Jal released “We Want Peace,” part of a wider campaign of the same name, calling for peace, protection, and justice for Sudan and an end to all conflicts that affect innocent people around the world. This campaign is supported by a number of A-list stars and leaders, including George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Richard Branson, Jimmy Carter, and Kofi Annan. With the support of organizations such as Free The Children, Amnesty International, Ford Foundation, Humanity United, and others, Jal has taken “We Want Peace” on the road and has spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world, touring across Mexico, the UK, the US, Africa, Canada, Australia, and Asia.
In 2009 Emmanuel Jal founded the charity Gua Africa, which supports those affected by war and poverty from South Sudan. The charity has trained and educated South Sudanese refugees to becoming first-class professionals in medicine, law, and education.