This extraordinary and moving ad for an Australian university is like nothing you’ve ever seen before

A screenshot Deng Adut’s story for Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University (WSU — it recently rebranded from University of Western Sydney) launched a new marketing campaign on the weekend around the theme of “unlimited” — potential, opportunity — with three TV ads to back it up.

They focus on the stories of three graduates — an engineer who works for Tesla, a lawyer and an arts graduate who’s now a museum director and Asian arts expert based in Washington DC.

Lawyer Deng Adut’s story will knock you off your feet. His powerful, moving and harrowing life story is a timely reminder in the current political climate of what being a refugee is all about and the potential ahead.

Adut was just six-years-old when he was taken from his family farm in South Sudan and conscripted as a child soldier into the rebel forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, a militia regularly accused of human rights atrocities, during the country’s long-running civil war.

He was shot in the back at age 12 and smuggled out of Sudan by his brother, arriving in Western Sydney as a refugee in 1998.

He taught himself to read at age 15, worked in a service station to learn English, enrolled at TAFE and got an accounting diploma before heading to WSU to study law in 2005. He’s now a lawyer in Bankstown, offering legal advice and support for other refugees.

Adut’s story could be a movie in its own right, and this ad is a gutsy reminder of the transformative power of education and the good that can come of giving people who need it most a second chance.

Watch Deng Adut’s story below.