Partners Healthcare article about Daniel Bul
Meet Research Management’s Daniel Bul. He is a father, husband, finance professional with a master’s degree from Brandeis University, leader and an immigrant to the United States. Daniel is one of the original child-refugees from South Sudan often dubbed by the media as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” *
Daniel was born in Pawai, a small village in Duk County, South Sudan. He was forced from his village by the civil war in 1987 where he, along with other children, walked thousands of miles to Ethiopia often in long lines led by the oldest boy. They didn’t have any food or water and many of the children didn’t even have clothes. Boys often died along the way from illness, thirst, starvation, or they just became exhausted and stopped walking. Daniel has seen many atrocities, but he’s always persevered to overcome real adversity and achieve success. In 2001, he resettled to the United States after living in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. This is where we pick up his story.
How long have you been at Partners?
Six years. My first day at Partners (at 101 Huntington Avenue) was the day of the Boston Marathon bombing – a bit of an unusual first day at a new job. I started with the Cash Team in Research Management and within six months, I moved on to become a Research Finance Specialist. My day-to-day responsibilities include monitoring grant expenses, receivables and revenue for an assigned portfolio of research taking place at Partners institutions. This can include more than 500 active funds made up of non-federal and federal-sponsored grants and sundry funds.
What do you enjoy about working at Partners?
Within Research Management, there are good working relationships, support and respect among team members and managers, and I enjoy working with every person on my team. My managers, including Andrew Chase and Sue Horton, are great leaders because they value an individual’s situation beyond the workplace. Without this job, I wouldn’t have been able to travel back to South Sudan or care for my wife when she was sick.
Your personal journey is incredible; tell us about your professional background and accomplishments.
I came to United States in 2001 knowing a little English. I managed to go to college and graduate from UMass Boston with bachelor’s degree in Economics. After working with State Street Corporation, I decided to pursue a master’s degree at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Since then, I got married, and we now have five children and own a home in Westford…these are few accomplishments.
How did your experiences in Sudan and immigrating to the U.S. inform your life?
As a person who experienced hardship throughout my life, I have understood that life is a journey. I do not let memories of old situations overcome me. I tell myself every day to move on, work hard and do better. Although it is difficult living here in America without parents or relatives, I have found that there are many opportunities for someone like me to do well. Finding people who understand your background and welcome you is motivating to fit in America.
Anything else you’d like to share?
As a way to give back to the community I came from, I founded a charity organization called Health Education and Resources Outreach (HERO) – South Sudan, Inc. The organization focuses on sustainable clean water, village fruit tree plantings and environmental health. I am looking for volunteers to help with fundraising and others aspect of running the charity organization.
*(History note for our readers: Many children were orphaned or separated from their families because of genocide in the southern part of the country. Some children were able to avoid capture or death because they were away from their villages tending cattle, or they were able to flee and hide in the dense African bush. Needing to find food and safety from the conflict, an estimated 20,000 boys from rural southern Sudan fled to bordering Ethiopia and Kenya.)
Thank you to Daniel for sharing his story. This interview has been edited for length.