Michael Nuul Mayen honoured with UWinnipeg Distinguished Alumni Award

Michael MayenThe University of Winnipeg Alumni Association will honour Michael Nuul Mayen (BA 4-yr ’07) with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the University’s 100th Convocation Ceremony for the Conferring of Degrees on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. at The University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre.

Michael Nuul Mayen is a dedicated helper, advocate and friend to new Canadians; among them immigrants, refugees, young people, and those affected by war. His own life experiences have instilled within him a passionate desire to help all newcomers find support, assistance, education and success in their adopted country of Canada.

Mayen was born and raised in Sudan (in the region now known as South Sudan). In 1986, at the age of 12, he was forced to flee his country due to war. He became part of a group known around the world as the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan. They were known as such because, as orphans without a home due to war, they were forced to seek refuge in neighboring nations like Ethiopia and Kenya. In this journey, they were forced to walk thousands of miles and they were lucky if they survived. Being one of the fortunate few, Mayen came to Winnipeg as a government-sponsored refugee in 1998.

He attended The University of Winnipeg and graduated in 2007 with a four-year degree in International Development Studies. During his time at the University, Mayen co-founded the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan and founded the African Students’ Association, for which he served as the President from 2004-2007. Mayen was also the Global Action Coordinator for the Menno Simons College.

In 2006, Mayen travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo as a national election observer with the help of Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg.

In 2010, Mayen demonstrated his belief in the democratic process; he became the first of these global migrants to run for a political seat, in Alberta. Mayen ran for a councillor seat in the City of Brooks municipal elections. Mayen lost in that election but his run was inspiring to many new Canadians as well as longtime residents of this great nation.

Volunteering and working with agencies serving immigrants, Mayen has advocated for and assisted newcomers to Canada in Manitoba and Alberta, helping them integrate into Canadian society. Mayen currently serves as Executive Director of the Language Centre for Newcomers in Brooks, Alberta; an organization that Mayen also founded. He also volunteers his time speaking in schools, acting as an Arabic and Dinka language translator in court hearings for non-English speaking newcomers, and serving on boards of community organizations.

Vassan Aruljothi (BA ’09), President of The University of Winnipeg Alumni Association said, “Michael’s commitment to making education accessible to children from all faces of society was the defining reason, among others, to select him as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. This passion of his reflects precisely what The University of Winnipeg stands for.”

Michael Nuul Mayen was selected  as The Distinguished Alumni Award recipient by a vote of the Alumni Council, the representative body of the Alumni Association, comprised of more than 45,000 graduates of The University; United College; Wesley College; and Professional, Applied, and Continuing Education. To read about past recipients of The Distinguished Alumni Award, and for information about how to nominate someone, visit http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/alumni-where.

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For media inquiries, please contact:
UWinnipeg Alumni Association President
Vassan Aruljothi at 204-953-3879

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