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Dunay in 2011
November 9, 1978
Akobo, South Sudan
|Alma mater||University of Bridgeport|
|Occupation||Actor, Speaker, Goodwill Ambassador UN Refugees Agency(UNHCR)|
Ger Duany Born in Akobo, Greater Upper Nile in South Sudan, 39 years ago, Ger is a self-described “village boy”. He remembers vividly his early childhood as a herd boy tending his family’s cattle in the ways of his forefathers. Recollections of roaming vast grassy plains in search of pasture, and of playing in the waters of the White Nile are etched in his memory.
Ger had his first experience of war at the tender age of seven. It marked the end of his idyllic childhood. His family and community were uprooted. At age 13 war separated him from his mother, and like others he resorted to becoming a child soldier as a means of survival during South Sudan’s struggle for independence. Ger later became a refugee in Ethiopia and then Kenya, and was resettled to the United States from Dadaab camp at the youthful age of 15.
In this unfamiliar environment Ger struggled. He had to learn to adapt while dealing with the demons that haunted him from life in the war zone. He persevered, went to school and developed a love for basketball. “Sports grounded me,” he says. “I often felt frustrated and angry. But I realized that I could not survive that way. So I learned to quiet my fears. I learned to listen carefully and always to pay attention to very small things.”
Ger went on to earn a college degree. He worked hard and built a successful career as an actor and fashion model. Most recently, he played a leading role in the American drama film, The Good Lie, which tells the story of three refugees who are resettled from Kakuma camp to the United States, and their struggles to integrate. Like many former “Lost Boys of Sudan”, and many more refugees and former refugees throughout the world, Ger is driven by the urge to give back to the cause of forced displacement. In his role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, he has undertaken to use his story and his influence to help spread awareness about the plight of refugees and other populations that the UN refugee agency serves.
Duany made his debut as an actor in the 2004 philosophical comedy film I Heart Huckabees, in which he played a refugee called Stephen Nimieri. Duany was picked for the role because the film's producer and director David O. Russell wanted someone who had endured the real-life experience of being a refugee.
In mid-2011, he co-produced and starred in the documentary Ger: To Be Separate, about his journey from war child to refugee to Hollywood actor and international model. The film also showed his return to South Sudan, voting for the first time and celebrating the country's newly acquired independence on 9 July 2011.
During the 2015 World Refugee Day, Duany was announced as the UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador for the East and Horn of Africa Region by the Kenya Country Representative, Raouf Mazou in Kakuma. Duany is currently one of the UNHCR's high profile supporters as its Goodwill Ambassador.
|2004||I Heart Huckabees||Stephen Nimieri||Comedy|
|2012||Ger: To Be Separate||Himself||Documentary|
|2012||Isn't It Delicious?||Limo driver|
|2014||The Good Lie||Jeremiah||Drama|
|2017||The Nile Hilton Incident||Clinton||Drama|