From his start in life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s, Emmanuel Jal has come through a huge number of struggles during his life to become a successful and acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador. Drawing on his personal experiences and background, he speaks and performs with a strong message of reconciliation and peace, and has addressed the United Nations, U.S. Congress, the Carter Centre and the very highest level of several governments.
In 2008, a full-length documentary on his life was released, titled “Warchild,” winning 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. His autobiography of the same name was published the same year. Emmanuel has released five award-nominated studio albums, and has collaborated and performed alongside artists such as Peter Gabriel, Nelly Furtado, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Joss Stone, Nile Rodgers and Alicia Keys.
Emmanuel co-starred with Reese Witherspoon in the film “The Good Lie,” which tells the story about the journey of four young Sudanese refugees who win a lottery for relocation to the United States. Emmanuel also appeared as the adult lead in “Africa United.”
During his career, he has been involved with a number of global charity organizations, including the British Council, the Child Soldiers Initiative, Amnesty International and Oxfam. He has received numerous awards for his peace efforts in South Sudan, including recognition from Ban Ki Moon at the UN.
In 2010, Jal released “We Want Peace,” part of a wider campaign that called for peace, protection and justice for all of Sudan, as well as calling for an end to all conflicts that affect innocent people around the world. With the support of organizations such as Free The Children, Amnesty International, Ford Foundation and many others, Emmanuel has taken “We Want Peace” on the road and spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world.
Alongside cofounder Paul Lindley, Emmanuel created The Key is E – a social business and charity channeling the power of education, entrepreneurialism and creativity – to impact social change. The project identifies and invests in inspiring projects across the African continent, committed to engaging young people and the African Diaspora in a shared vision that shows together, we are a compelling agent for positive change.
Emmanuel founded Gua Africa in 2006 in order to promote education in Africa through academic sponsorships to refugees who have survived war and genocide, construction of classrooms and the provision of resources such as books, pencils and teacher’s salaries that ensure schools remain open during times of emergency.