The Venetian and The Palazzo Team Member Biar Atem recently attended Amnesty International USA’s Annual General Meeting in Washington, DC as a “Build Bridges” panel member to empower Amnesty members to advocate for refugees and human rights.
“I visited Capitol Hill with Camille Garrett, Amnesty Legislative Coordinator for Nevada, to meet with our members of Congress,” he said. “We met with staffers from the offices of Representative Titus, Representative Amodei, Representative Kihuen, and Senators Cortez-Masto and Heller. I shared my story and advocated for humanitarian aid funding, support of refugees, and human rights defenders.”
Atem has advocated for refugee support as the founder of The South Sudan Center of America, a nonprofit organization he created to assist the South Sudanese in Nevada and abroad through dialogue, education, and youth-focused programs that promote knowledge, hope, and compassion. Atem created the organization as a way of giving back as he was a young refugee and a part of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, the result of the second Sudanese Civil War where boys of South Sudan were killed so they couldn’t fight in wars later as adults. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that about 30,000 boys fled, most were between five and 10 years old. By the end of the journey, those who survived walked more than 1,000 miles and more than half didn't survive.
Atem has been recognized many times for his efforts in supporting refugees. He was named an American Red Cross Everyday Hero, as well as being named a Sands Cares Hero in 2017 as a finalist for the Adelson Citizenship Award.