Sudanese 'lost Boy' Who Became Finance Minister to Receive Prestigious Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins

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Abraham Akoi, a South Sudanese "lost boy" who later served as that nation’s minister of finance and economic planning, is to receive the Knowledge for the World Award from the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association.

Abraham Akoi, on a life’s journey that has taken him from surviving as one of South Sudan’s “lost boys” to later serving as that nation’s minister of finance and economic planning, will receive the Knowledge for the World Award from the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association on March 7, 2013.

Akoi will be honored at a 6 p.m. event at the Harbor East campus of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, 100 International Drive in Baltimore. He earned his dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Arts in Government degree in 2010 from the Carey School and JHU’s Krieger School of Arts & Sciences.

The Knowledge for the World Award, given to alumni who exemplify the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence through their professional achievement or humanitarian service, is one of the most prestigious bestowed on graduates of the university. Akoi is the first Carey Business School graduate to be named a recipient of the award.

At age 11, Akoi fled his war-torn village in South Sudan. He walked to Ethiopia, and after losing family members in the civil war and living for 10 years in refugee camps, he arrived in the United States in 2001 as one of the orphaned “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

Akoi thrived in his adopted homeland, earning a degree in history and economics from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and then his dual degree from Johns Hopkins. He studied in China and India during his undergraduate period, and has held internships with the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Several years ago, he turned down corporate job offers so he could return to South Sudan and help rebuild the government, serving as a finance adviser at the request of the country’s president.

His humanitarian work also has included volunteer community efforts in New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and Kingston, Jamaica. In addition, he has served as a consultant to the World Bank.

The March 7 event on the fourth floor of the Carey Business School is scheduled to begin with an alumni reception at 6:00 p.m., followed at 6:30 p.m. by remarks from the Carey School’s Dean Bernard T. Ferrari, Associate Professor James Calvin, and then Akoi. The reception will resume at 7 p.m.

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Pat Ercolano
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