Former NBA Star to Speak at Church-Led Refugee Conference

Former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Manute Bol, who was born and raised in Sudan, will be the keynote speaker for the closing session of a national refugee resettlement conference on Friday.

The conference is hosted by humanitarian agency Church World Service Migration Ministries (EMM) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Some 350 refugee resettlement professionals have gathered in Detroit for the closed-door conference this week.

Bol's speech, however, will be open to the public.

During his NBA career and following his retirement, Bol has been very active in charitable causes. It is well-known that he spent most of the money he made during his basketball career to support various causes related to his war-torn country of Sudan. He also frequently visited Sudanese refugee camps.

The Sudanese government offered him the position as minister of sport in 2001, but he declined because the pre-condition was for him to convert to Islam. Bol is a Christian.

He has established the Ring True Foundation to fundraise for Sudanese refugees, and has engaged in various entertainment sports shows to raise funds for needy Sudanese.

Bol is currently raising funds to build a school in his home village of Turalei.

The church-based refugee resettlement programs of Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and their local affiliates have helped 17,026 refugees, out of a total of 60,192, to resettle in the United States in fiscal year 2008.

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