Best news ever. Deng Adut has been named the NSW Australian of the Year.
The 33 year old refugee and criminal lawyer shed tears as he received this top honour from Premier Mike Baird at ceremony in Sydney on Monday night. He said he was beyond surprised.
"Shocked," he said. "I never dreamed of anything. Even (being) a fisherman."
Adut was forced to fight as a child soldier at the age of six in Sudan before he was smuggled out and made it to Australia.
From illiterate refugee to criminal lawyer, Adut is studying for a second master's degree while running AC Law Group, which he set up to fight for members of the Sudanese community from his home in Blacktown in Sydney's west.
His story is well known, largely thanks to a TV advertising campaign for Western Sydney University, which depicts his remarkable story:
Adut said Australia was not his adopted country, but his home.
Is this not the most inspiring story? That TV ad moves me EVERY SINGLE TIME.