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December 2005

John Majok

By Martha Lundin, Inside Tucson Business

John Thon Majok has been through more horrific events in his 24 years than most people will go through in a lifetime, but the optimism his father instilled in him and faith in God have given him boundless energy to help others. Majok, who was born in Sudan in East Africa, left his civil war-torn home at in 1987 at age seven to walk 1,000 miles to Ethiopia with thousands of other young boys, who became known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. Many did not survive the trip, succumbing to starvation, drowning, or wild animals. When Ethiopia erupted in civil war a few years later, Majok and the other boys started another journey on foot to Kenya.

Eventually, Majok emigrated to Tucson in 2001 from a refugee camp in Kenya. He has worked tirelessly to achieve his dreams, which include going to law school to study international relations, with a focus on human relations and diplomacy. He took the law school admissions test in early October and hopes to attend the University of Arizona law school next fall.

“I want to be an agent of change. This world is our global village and we need to make it more livable for human beings and deal with anything that interferes with the sanctity of human life,” Majok said.

Last May, after only four years here and with English as his second language, Majok graduated with honors from the University of Arizona with a double major undergraduate degree in public management and policy and health and human services administration.

To guide his decisions and goals, Majok developed inspirational principles that he calls his “4-D formula.”

“The four Ds are dedication, devotion, discipline, and diligence,” said Majok. “I am goal-oriented and determination helps me achieve those goals. Devotion requires self-sacrifice and time, so I dedicate my full body and mind to excelling. Discipline is the ability to control oneself even in stressful situations. And diligence is having a can-do attitude. I think along these lines so I can stay the course.”

In demand as an inspirational speaker, Majok is happy to be an example for children and adults to follow. “I try to have different messages for different people. For children, I tell them to prepare for the challenges in life,” he said. “I tell them to listen because it is good to be ready to learn. The other thing is to be optimistic and keep going. If you fail, don’t be discouraged. Always tell yourself ‘I can do it.’”

Majok says that public speaking is a talent that God has given him and his goal is to give people a sense of optimism and hope. “I tell people to think of me and tell yourself ‘I will always succeed.' Things don’t always go as planned, but never, never give up.”

© 2005 Inside Tucson Business

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Jim Kolbe and John Majok.

Congressman Jim Kolbe, left, and John Majok, '05 BSPA, Public Management and Health and Human Services