Emmanuel Jal, a former South Sudanese child soldier, has made it his life’s mission to travel as far across the globe as he can, advocating for peace. Jal gave a free concert here on Tuesday evening, March 25, 2014, as part of a Forum on Global Engagement, and during the day he entertained nearly 1,000 students from Montgomery County with a high-energy and thought-provoking performance.

He performed several songs, invited a handful of students and their teachers onto the stage to help him sing and dance, and ┬áspoke to the students about his life story, including his time as a child soldier and his three-month trek to safety, during which he and his companions were forced to seriously consider cannibalism in order to survive.┬áHe also spoke of some happy times, too–times that make him laugh to this day. One of his stories involved a particularly curious chicken.

“Peace is justice, equality, and freedom for all… Peace is when conflict is managed in a mature manner and violence is prevented,” Jal said.

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