On February 28th, 2010, twelve seniors from Oakland Unity High School will visit the Stanford University campus to hear Valentino Achak Deng deliver a presentation. The seniors are currently reading a novel about Valentino’s life, entitled What is the What, and have listened to a presentation by the author of the novel, Dave Eggers.
With perspective and humor, Valentino Deng uses his extraordinary life to illuminate the lives, and the struggles, of millions. With storytelling grace, he takes the audience from the senseless tragedies of his early life (civil war in Sudan, refugee camps in Kenya) to his time in America to the hard-won triumphs of today (the opening of the Marial Bai secondary school in 2009). The powerful story that emerges is a testament to both the senselessness of war and the resilience of the human body and mind. Deng is a speaker of bottomless compassion, and of hope and integrity — a man whose unforgettable life has humbled and enlightened thousands around the world.