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Powerful Western Sydney University ad follows graduate's journey from child soldier to lawyer

by Rheana Murray /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Never thought a university advertisement could make you cry? We didn't either — until we saw this one.

A powerful video from Western Sydney University in Australia tells the story of Deng Thiak Adut, a graduate of the school, who was taken from his mom at age 6 in Africa, forced to fight with a rebel group and shot at age 12.

Eventually, he was smuggled out of Sudan and rescued by the UN.

He landed in Australia, where, the ad says, Adut taught himself how to read, for a while living in his car, and eventually earned a law degree.

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The video was published in September but began making the rounds online this week. Fans are applauding Adut's remarkable story, as well as the university for sharing it in the ad.

"Every now and then advertising seems worthwhile," one person commented on YouTube."This gave me shivers," said another. "What a powerful ad."

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The commercial is part of Western Sydney University's "Unlimited" campaign, which includes other alumni stories.

"Deng Adut's journey from child soldier to lawyer is inspirational," Angelo Kourtis, vice president of People and Advancement at the school, told TODAY in a statement.

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Photographer Bobby Sager captures the pain and surprisingly joyous moments of kids in conflict regions.

"His story, alongside the other long-form advertisements that form part of our 'Unlimited' campaign, is part of a three-year program for the University, which focuses on inspiring and supporting our students to realize their greatest potential."

Many Australians are familiar with Adut's moving journey — he's been profiled by the Sydney Morning Herald and other outlets.He's also active as criminal lawyer helping Sydney's Sudanese community, according to the AC Law group, where Adut works.

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