South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

News & Events

News and Events

Announcing a New Book by Author, John Dau

Pillars of Wisdom bookcover.jpg

SSEF is thrilled to share that John Dau, brother of SSEF's Community Liaison Akuot Deng Leek, has published his third book.  SSEF is committed to promoting cross-cultural understanding and providing ways to share South Sudanese culture and history broadly.  John Dau's latest book shares wisdom stories from the Dinka tradition and speaks to the value of story-telling as a bridge to building character and understanding.  In SSEF's Spring 2018 Saturday Bridges Program, speakers Hugo Kamya and Michael LaRue addressed the important role that storytelling has played in African culture. It is a delight that John Dau is carrying on this rich tradition and sharing it with us all to enjoy. To learn more, visit

The organization extends hearty congratulations on this major accomplishment and is pleased to share the following press release:

John Dau narrates the Dinka people’s folk tales in new book

‘The Pillars of Wisdom: Dinka’ instills fundamental human values and preserves cultural identity

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – John Dau returns to the publishing scene with the release of his third book, “The Pillars of Wisdom: Dinka” (published by AuthorHouse), a collection of stories that reinforce positive values to young readers. Told in an enchanting traditional style, the folk tales are inspired from the Dinka people’s rich culture.

The lively stories in the book are classified according to the Dinka pillars of wisdom: respect, empathy, honesty, fairness, sharing, listening, welcoming, brotherhood, friendship, love, perseverance and other subliminal lessons. Through the adventures and lessons of animals and humans interacting with nature, the book instills fundamental human values.

Dau emphasizes how these values are universal and shared across societies: “In my homeland, we told stories to help fill the young with wisdom acquired from the tribe. They rang true when I struggled to maintain my identity, my faith, and my hope as a Lost Boy of Sudan in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya (...) They ring true today, as I live and work as a U.S. citizen, husband, father, and foundation president in New York and Virginia.”

Offered to children and young adults, “The Pillars of Wisdom: Dinka” aims to bring readers back to the traditional way of doing things, in an effort to preserve cultural identity against what Dau calls as today’s “adopted artificial cultures.”

Praise for “The Pillars of Wisdom: Dinka”:
“‘Pillars of Wisdom’ is more than just a compilation of stories full of wisdom. These stories introduce morals in a light-hearted way that inspire wisdom in yourself. I have never read a more thought-provoking and inspirational piece. You will walk away from reading this book, constantly pondering self-improvement.” – Liz Bullock

“The Pillars of Wisdom: Dinka”
By John Dau
Softcover | 8.5 x 11in | 88 pages | ISBN 9781546247210 E-Book | 88 pages | ISBN 9781546247203
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

John Dau was born in war-torn Sudan and was one of the 27,000 Lost Boys of Sudan. While living in a Kenyan refugee camp from 1992-2001, he attended school for the first time at the age of 17 and earned a Kenyan Certificate for Secondary Education. In 2001, he was selected to immigrate to the United States and settled in Syracuse, New York. Following his initial culture shock, Dau took on many jobs, earned an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University. Currently, he is the president of both the John Dau Foundation (JDF) and the South Sudan Institute (SSI). He is an influential part of many efforts to bring hope and peace to the people of South Sudan, founding four nonprofits, and with help from American volunteers, he raised millions to build and operate the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in his home village of Duk Payuel. He now speaks professionally throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Readers can reach Dau at or at

Carolyn Montie