tv QA Lual Mayen CSPAN May 3, 2020 11:00pm-11:59pm EDT
♪ susan: what we are looking at is a videogame you have produced. with the title "salaam." what is the premise of this game? lual: the purpose of the game is in my journey and in the gaming industry, i realized that video games are a powerful tool to bring communities together and also to create empathy and to help people understand the war crisis. when i created this, there's a lot of people that do not understand who refugees are and
what actually it takes them to become refugees. so this is a game that help people understand the journey to being a refugee. so you take them to a peaceful environment. and also in the game, we do not identify which one is a peaceful environment. it's not a country. but it's a place where you can have a place of peace, a place of refuge. a place where you can have peace of mind. the most important thing that in the game you take a character from the war country, from a place -- like there's a lot of hardship on their way, their journey, because a lot of people don't understand what the journey is. so you have to give them water. you have to give them medicine -- all the hardship for you to
win the game. susan: so who do you hope will play your game? lual: the video game industry is defined by people allowed to play games, people that actually take decision to be able to say, hey, i want to play this game because of this. when i started creating salam it's to create awareness. -- awareness to all the people in the world. it doesn't have a limitation as long as you understand what it means to be a refugee. high school students can play the game, anybody can play the game as long as you understand and love the game. susan: how do people access it? lual: it's coming in the summer in 2020. it is going to be on instinct game. there will be a platform where you can play the game instantly. you can use a computer. you can use your phone. you play instantly. so i'm really so excited. it's a platform that has almost 700 million players right now. so we're excited to publish the game. susan: we have some stats that we have about the video game industry. and there are big numbers. first of all, it is estimated that 2.5 billion gamers around the world, in the u.s., 164 million.
that's about a population of 330 -- the global videogame revenue, in 2018, $139 billion and 72% are using their mobile phone in order to access it. that's a huge market that you're tapping into. how do you make your way in an industry that is that large? lual: that was my biggest reaction when i was making video games and taking a different path of like making games for peace and conflict resolution making game for such an impact. when i started this journey, wanted to create something that's going take me to where i am today but my main focus was i wanted to create something different in the game. because this is an industry that grow every day. we have young people that play the game. the most important part of the industry -- it is not like the movie industry -- when people
play games you make a decision. it's empathy. it's not like sitting on your couch and watch a movie. when you play a game, you make a decision. one example i always tell people is that when you play a game with your friend and your friend kill your character, you don't tell your friend why did you kill your character? it becomes part of you. this industry really brings people together. we can use the same industry to tell people about the crisis in the world because games are amazing. people can make decisions. it is part of empathy. i feel like -- for me to find myself in the industry like this, when i wanted to go in 2018 was because the industry created something new which was actually the last people that are using the part of game to bring about positive change in our communities because this is something that is needed. this is something a lot of people talk every day like, hey,
games are not good. games promote violence. but we can use this medium as a tool of change. it's not just change in terms of playing the game but a different kind of game. when you look at my game salaam it is the first game that is about the reality on the ground. and what i mean by that is that when a player buy food in the game for your character to survive and when you buy water in the game for your character to drink and survive and run over like this, the long distance for them to go to this -- to go to their final destination, you're buying someone in the refugee food and medicine and water. so it's not just like playing the game. it's more than that. susan: it's helping people? lual: yeah. susan: you rightly mentioned how critical people are that don't play games, they're a negative power. it seems to be action and
violence that attracts gamers to a game. how you do hope to attract the attention for people to play the game when you don't have so much violence? when you don't have anger in it? what will bring people to your game? lual: first of all, the story of the game. when you're designing the game you need to have what is your mission? what is your mission and what is your target audience? we're defined by people who like to play the game. it's like a role-playing game where you know the story and what is your purpose in playing the game? so the stories are really important in every game. because it's the best way of storytelling. when someone like -- when a kid plays the game, they will really understand is hey, what i learn today is play a game of refugees to see some of the difficulties that refugees go through and what can i be able to play, what
control i be able to play as a player, to be part of that, to be able to get them from a war country to a peaceful environment? and one of the things that people don't understand is that even in critical wars, everywhere we make decisions on the refugees because we don't really understand who they are. some people will say were you a refugee? i was a refugee. what they don't understand is the journey i went through to become a journey -- to become a refugee. it's the story of making people aware that of the story that refugee got through. someone can play today and in the next 10 years they're going to be in power and when they're making decisions the game might help them to really understand what the journey of a refugee is. it is more about giving information and the story of the game. susan: when i thought about the game it's not only the refugee experience but how to solve problems without conflict.
how do you approach conflict resolution in the game? lual: we have a design part "on the fly" where things pop-up in the game. for example how you do resolve this conflict. the question will be asking you like which country do you think is going through conflict. and then you can choose. what role can you be able to do as a person to be able to resolve that conflict? it brings somebody into an understanding of what role can they play? because people think about conflict as like maybe south sudan or yemen are going through conflicts. but what can we do as an individual to be able to understand conflict resolution? and that's why some universities are how we can utilize the games to be able to bring people on the table and play the games. susan: are you a real pioneer in this area of games for good, or
is there a thriving community of people thinking about that? lual: there is a gaming community in the game. sometimes we call them serious game. it's a big community. and we really want to make sure the community is like getting there. we are game for good like action game, there's like role playing games. we are not really huge in the industry. we're kind of like coming up because the other part is most of the game the other question people ask me game for good and you make money. you want to seek funding. and that's why i -- as a company i had to come up with the company which is like a business company to make sure that making game for good and you're also able to sustain the company to make more games. so it's like the business part of it is actually -- it's not making us to thrive a lot as the
game for good community. susan: you had quite a path from running your company to your beginning. i want to spend some time and have you tell your story. where were you born? lual: i was born in a place called ashua. it's between south sudan and uganda. it's on the side of south sudan, actually, that's were i was born. my parents had to flee country because of the war. susan: they fled south sudan? lual: more than 250 miles to northern uganda. they didn't know what they were going. they were just going through the bush to flee toward a mile walking every day. my father had to take a different road and my mother had to take a different road with my sibling because during that time when a woman is -- fleeing at the same time with her husband and to find them on the way they will kill all of them or the husband. so my father had to take a different road.
my mother had to take care of my -- of the children and that's how i lost two of my sisters. susan: two of them died enroute. and your mother was pregnant with you? lual: and my mother was pregnant with me. there was a lot of people that were all fleeing at the same time. there were massacres. it was not easy. and for them there were just closing in the bush going through ambush, going through --there was contaminated water, like going through the grass, you know, going through the rebar. it was not easy for them and there was no food. i remember like my mom told me even the day she was giving
birth, like she didn't even know. she didn't even eat no food in the evening, she gave birth to me. and like it was not easy. it was like the worst moment of her life. nobody was taking care of her and the child was born. like, it was outside, like in the bush and so on. and what really gave her a lot was -- she was not like the only woman -- there's a lot of women. and she told me like, even some women threw out their children because they don't want them to suffer. when i was born she said i was so strong. she was like, i'm not going to do anything to him. i'm not going to throw him. i'm going to keep him because it -- because may be it was a gift to me. it was not easy -- being a refugee people think it's something where you just wake up in the morning and leave what you love.
it's a hell of a journey. it's a journey of death and life. it's a journey of like you're traumatized. you don't know what you're doing. you don't know where you're going. you don't know what to eat. you don't know like -- you just count your days until you reach that place ashua was born and moved to the refugee camp and that is where they got some humanitarian assistance. susan: and where was the refugee camp they were in? lual: it was called mungali in northern uganda. my father meet up there. and the u.n. helped them give them some tents. and start a family there. and then they start like, you know, living there. and it became part of their life. susan: how large was that refugee camp? lual: it was really big. it was a big community. i would say it's like -- i really don't know exactly how many people but it's a big community.
it's really big. susan: what are your early -- earliest memories of the refugee camp? lual: my earliest memories, to me i would say maybe when i was 7 because when i was born and -- on the way i was so weak i couldn't really remember anything. i was -- even at the age of five i didn't know i was living. there was no food as a child. there was no -- it was so hard. some of the memories i remember was struggling to get food, struggling to like to find something to play with as children. and -- and like food was the biggest issue. i remember like i would wake up in the morning around 8:00 a.m. go to the bush so that we can go and get some fruits to eat. and you like -- there was a river near and there was some fish, so you can get fish in the water. so you're struggling to find something to survive. and it was really dangerous. you can go to the bush and
there's a lot of wild animals there. you go to the river, there's like crocodile and they were like really dangerous things. as children we couldn't care because we didn't wanted to like find something to eat because that's how we can survive. when you come back home you only have one meal in the day and it's not enough. you wake up in the morning and you go back out -- and i remember the worst memory i ever had was when i went and my friend to the bush to find some mango fruits. and i climbed the mango tree. and my friend climbed as well. and when i got my mango tree, my -- and when i got my mango tree, i came down and my friend was still up. he fall from a mango tree. and he hit his head on this and died on the spot. and that is like the worst memory i can remember as a child
because just we wanted food to eat and that food ended up killing my friend. and i came back home and i told people and what happened the next day, i went back on the same mango tree get fruit because i don't have another option. if anybody see yesterday it was like the worst day -- i still went back. so our refugee camp it's more than what people think. it's -- it's -- it's not fun. it's not -- nobody deserves to be there. but for people that have left their country, they deserve to be there because when i was in the refugee camp, it was my great moment when you looked at me in the refugee camp, i was happy because that's all i can be contented with. that's the only life that i knew. there's not any other life more than i know.
susan: was there schooling for children? lual: there was school where they teach you like -- and teachers are not well trained. some of them speak dinka. and some of them speak english. and even for us we would have no inspiration to go to school because what are you going to do when you go to school in there's -- and there's no way they're going teach you because it's not a well -- it's not a good school actually. susan: so tell me the story of how a computer came into your life? lual: yeah. i remember -- when i was actually in the refugee camp, i was so creative more than anything. that's the thing that help me a lot. and i will do anything that -- anything creative. and people in the refugee camp would like it. i remember i would -- i would use batteries -- use batteries from a torch and i would connect the whole -- at least 10 houses with a flight lights. and people loved it. i was so creative a lot.
susan: where do you think that creativity came from? lual: maybe from my mother. my mother was also like so creative. but again when you are living in a lot of situation, it caused you do be so creative. sometimes it happens. susan: so the story of the computer came about how? lual: the story of the computer was there was a refugee registration. people wanted verification. and during that time, they send people maybe from kampala or from united nation and they were giving out computers. we were in the line and i saw someone was using the laptop. i told my mother, what is that? and they were like, that's a laptop? and i was like, how did you even know it? she has never been to school. and she was like that's a computer. in my heart i was like i want to use that one day. like i just -- that moment i saw
it, i felt like i really wanted to use it. and i kept it to myself. one day i came to my mother and i said i need buy a computer. susan: how old were you? lual: that was 2010. so maybe 17. yeah, that's like 2010. and i told her like i need a computer. and she was like, what are you going to do with a computeer? there's no money. there's no power for you to charge it. there's no one to train you with a computer. first of all, why are you asking for a computer? i just asked what i love. and because she's a mother, she -- she was like, it's fine. she kept quiet. she did not disappoint me. she did not say -- this is not happening. she just kept quiet. and she went to work so hard for like three years looking for $300 to buy for me a computer. she didn't tell me, hey, lual
i'm going to work to buy you a computer. susan: she surprised you. lual: she surprised me. yeah, the day she brought to -- she brought the money and said, lual this is money to buy a computer is the day that changed my life. because i thought how did you get the money? and -- and again, if i don't use it -- and then there's no power -- there's nobody going train me so what am i going to do with it? and to me i asked myself if i don't utilize it and then one day my two brothers are going ask my mother for something special in my life and even lual asked me a computer and he never used it. it's like what i'm going to do is going to affect my brothers. so it was a moment that was a moment for me to see what can i do with this. susan: so how do you overcome the problems of not having power?
lual: if my mother can walk 250 miles to serve us, how about me if she can work three years looking for $300. how about me? i can still do it. from there, i found out that there's a place where i can charge my laptop. it is like three hours away from -- it is like a center there, an internet cafe. it's like the u.n. center and they have internet cafe and it's called best comment so i walked three hours one way and three hours coming back to charge my laptop. i was excited because i found a solution to be able to charge my laptop. so i would walk there every day. sometime i would find out there's no power. but it's fine. i would come back home. charge my laptop. and then i started getting tutorials so i can be able to learn how to use basic computer programs. yeah. susan: you're native language is dinka.
but the computer is mostly english. how did you teach yourself english in order to learn to use the computer? lual: i had to learn -- get tutorials online. learn some english. it was the biggest struggle. so i had to really focus a lot and utilizing -- knowing english, knowing math, and also using online tutorials so i can be able to read and also practice them. susan: and when was the first time that you encountered on that computer a video game? lual: that was 2016 actually. so i went to an internet cafe, the same internet cafe. and then my friend installed a video game called "grand theft auto. susan: "grand theft auto." a very violent game. lual: yeah. so i came back home. and i followed the icon on my laptop. i'm like what is this?
this is something new. i never had it. and then i clicked on it, and then it opened. and i was like, wow, what is this? and then i went to see how to play the game. i got a tutorial on how to play the game. then i start training myself how to play the game. i never thought even video games are made from people. i just thought they fell from heaven because i didn't know anything about the industry. so when i played the game that's when i got the inspiration to actually make video games. susan: so you played the game and then you said, i can do this. lual: i played the game. to play grand theft auto, i was like wow -- as someone who has been through war -- as someone who has been from south sudan because my country is a country that has over 73% of the population is under the age of 30. these are all young people. they were raised up in war. so the mindset even in a refugee camp is to think about war.
so when i was playing "grand theft auto," i thought how about this team from south sudan starts playing video games? not because it is too violent but in my country it's the same thing, killing people and you feel like this is how things are done. and i'm like -- how about creating a video game for peace and conflict resolution as a way -- because for me, i believe that true peace is something that is built over time. and it's change of mind. we should make peace as a product something that interacts with people, it is not just coming together and signing a cease-fire. susan: where does all these ideas come from? lual: that's a good question. i even ask myself today how did that happen? i mean, i guess i was just battling with all of this. i just -- susan: did your mother have conversations with you about it? did your teachers or was this all self-taught?
lual: it was -- it was -- i thought about all that. even my mother didn't know what i was doing. she didn't even know what video game -- she didn't even know anything. like, i was just there like making sure i can do what i can as a human being. and one thing -- one thing people don't understand is that whenever -- we always have a human talent. and that human talent doesn't matter even if you're under the ground or even if you're the poorest country in the world, from the poorest community or like if you are going through a difficulties, there is a human talent that always pushes you to do things and that allows us not to give up. and that's what i always think about today, is that for someone to see my talent and see and invest in me, there was nobody from like the best country in the world. it was somebody in the same
household and it was my mother. she saw it. she invested in may. and some time will help. it has to come from within. and that really, really helped me a lot. my mother was a big inspiration for me and she has really taught me so much. and to be able to create a video game right now and realizing that games are very powerful tool that we can deal with to change the world and where we are today -- i say i make video games. ok. go for it, which is really good. susan: this is in 2016, this was only three short years ago when you first saw this game. so, walk me through what happened. how did you teach yourself to make a video game? and what happened next? lual: so when i had the inspiration of hey, i want to make game for peace. i want to make game for the
social impact and for the refugees. the first game i'm going to make is just to help the refugees come together and play games. so they can have some sort of entertainment. my main focus was not like i'm going to create a game for like the youth community. mine was to help children in the refugee camp so they can have something to kind of smile. so i head the video game the same man salaam, a very small game. with that, i had to train myself with graphic design, do my own sound, go and learn tutorials so i can create the game. every day -- programming -- i've done so many things in life. and that programming and i make an error, and i would just go throw my computer away. after one week, then i would come back and fix it. i would have an error but there was nobody there. like, this is a problem.
this is how you can solve it. so i have to like, keep the consistencies and keep working and loving what i was doing and train myself. after i create the game. and i started giving it to the refugees, and they were so happy. i could see a smile on their face. i could see like them coming together and play a game. like, how did you make this game? some of them are like, i want to make games. and that really help me a lot to be able to push because the refugees were my biggest source of inspiration. because whatever i did, they were excited for it. because i did something great it wasn't perfect. but people were like, this is
great though. i keep on creating. and then one day thinking to myself what can do i to be able to like -- the reason why i made the game which is 10 it's a small game. because there was no internet. there's no way i can public the game. so i always use bluetooth to share the game. i would do filesharing bluetooth to be able to share it with them. sometimes they don't have a phone, and then i would use my mobile phone for them to share and play. and then one day i was like, what can i do to distribute this game to more people? maybe let me just upload it on my facebook page which is the most crazy thing which nobody has ever done. you cannot upload a game on a facebook page like a picture. i just had that inspiration. let me just upload it. i told people, hey, i made a game. and from there, people start sharing it. and then it went viral. a lot of videogame community people were like how did you make the game? this is nice. and the founder joined us. it was in berlin, germany, from germany. and he reached out to me and he said, oh, man i saw your game. this is amazing. how did you make it? i want to invite you to south africa. i was like, well, that was my first time.
susan: we actually have video of that. so you were invited to a conference. we're going to show an interview of 2016. it was the same year at that conference. and as we get this ready, this is your first time ever traveling. lual: ever traveling, going on a flight. in order to get the knowledge that we have some different countries. as someone who into technology, i realize that -- so i stuck it in one of my first games. and i got big words because. [indiscernible] so i'm going to bring peace in the country through i.c.t., through gaming. it's a mobile application. it's available on android. you can play with any -- in any form.
it is a peace bringing game. susan: so that was your first venture into the international community. what does that do for your efforts, that recognition? lual: that really helped me understand what the gaming community is. and really give me exposure that the game community. and the biggest thing -- most of the support i get is from african game designers. they really helped me. when i went back -- actually this was a three days' conference. i went back to the refugee camp. every day i'm on the phone. i am talking to people from south africa and berlin and san francisco. and it was because of this opportunity. and they actually sent me more tutorials. and i would send them back my code and they could help me -- it was a biggest change in my life. susan: did you get formal schooling along the way? did you go to college? lual: no i did not.
susan: all of your learning has been self-taught? lual: self-taught. most of the time. gaming. working so hard to teach myself every day. susan: so what was your next step after this conference? how did you move from there to the next stop on your journey? lual: my biggest thing is i was just keeping exploring more ideas to be able to see like what -- what can i be able to achieve. and the biggest thing is that even after this conference i had no idea that i was able to leave the refugee camp. mine was just to keep on building because i had no inspiration. and -- and with that i've been in the refugee camp for more than 22 years. my family has been there for more than 25 years. a lot of people think that a refugee camp is a temporary place. it's not. it's a permanent place.
after the conference, it really helped me connect with a lot more developers and designers and actually giving me the guidelines of the game community and what i can be able to do and actually helping me exactly how to scale my -- my game and also how to scale my business and also see what can i do more than what i have already. and that helped me a lot. susan: how did you think of it -- beyond being a game to being a business at that point? where were you getting -- were the people that were mentoring you helping you to think about it more broadly? lual: from there -- exactly one of the things was -- as a business i knew that i would be able to really create something in the refugee camp. susan: but you had no experience. lual: yeah. in the refugee camp they do -- people do small businesses. but through that experience, it helped me to really learn like how can i sell my product? how can i make my own product
and make a t-shirt and all that stuff to be able to sell? that helped me to see how can i be able to make this game as a platform that can be able to not only me but bring more people. but again, it took me a long time just to like as a business -- but i was the only person working on it because i had no funding. i had no -- i had no money to be able to bring people and walk on this part. my main idea was to comprise it and make it sure like it's a business because opportunities come over time. and because of that -- as i mentioned -- i been in refugee camp for 22 years. the same thing with my family. and we applied for a settlement because there's a refugee settlement that refugees are resettled from uganda to australia, to canada, my family, we have applied more than 10
times to all different countries and we were rejected didn't allow us to go. susan: how big was your family? lual: we had five. we had five. yeah, five. and we were rejected and had no idea. with those experiences, i thought i was just meant to believe that a refugee camp. and i could see my neighbors leaving and going to canada. my neighbors going to australia. and i never give up. it's fine -- let them go and lead their better life. but again, i was contented. i was like, maybe there's a problem. i'm not lucky. and everything. so that helped me like, oh, this is my family. and so i'm just going to utilize everything here because that's how my life is going to be. when i was in south africa, it's in africa. and i went through for three days. and came back, and then from there, i was like i want to help -- help the refugees. and maybe i can train refugees. that was my main focus.
and then i was like, i want to keep on building, and building and building. i remember the biggest time i wanted to give up in life -- there's a lot of times, but the biggest time was like in 2017 when i was invited to san francisco. like the biggest video game in -- like the biggest videogame convention in the world and bring over 30,000 people. it's called the game developers' conference. they reached out to me and they said we want to you -- we want you to come to this state, to san francisco and give a talk. and i was like wow. like finally i'm going to the u.s., this is a country i dreamed of coming to. you know what happens the next day? there was a refugee trouble then which affected sudan. and we are south sudan. but most people do not differentiate. and that time i was like, wow. and i came back home and threw down my computer. i was crying.
and my mother saw me and she was like, what's going on. i was like, this is what happens. and i got the biggest opportunity in my life to be able to connect with more game designers and learn more about the game industry. and for me to speak over like 30,000 people and like this is the best industry in the world. and because of what i did, that's why i was invited. i threw down my computer because i said i'm not going to do anything because nothing will ever come out good with -- from what i did because this is the talent. this is something i want to share with the world. and then this thing happened. and i also remember the days we applied to leave the refugee camp and it couldn't happen. it was the 11th time for me to be rejected. in 2017. i'm like, i'm not going to do anything again. i'm not going to code. i'm not going to do anything. and my mother looked at me in the face. she was like, let me tell you something lual. i was like what do you mean?
she said you cannot steal water from the ocean. what do you mean? can you explain it to me? if you go to the ocean and have a basket to withdraw water, no matter how much you withdraw from the ocean, it keeps overflowing. and that's how you are. there's a lot of opportunities coming to your life. it may not be today. it's got to be in the next 10 years. never give up. there's a lot of opportunities. you are alive. nobody knew you were going to be alive. so never give up. pick up your you computer and that moment really restored my hope. susan: how did you get in with states? lual: then from there i kept on working and then from there there was something called -- there was a program here in washington, d.c. that brings only five companies
in the world that are using technology for social good. and i was selected for that. susan: is that run by the u.s. institute of peace? lual: yes. susan: we have some more video to show because they did a story about you. let's watch. lual: thank you. >> the idea for the new game started in south sudan capital juuba. he was able to receive guidance from the peace tech accelerator program earlier this year. the new game has already been distributed in rhino refugee camps in uganda. as well as i.d.p. sites across south sudan. but mayim says he wants to expand it to other parts of the world. lual: so i have to make sure that i'm keeping my myself and i believe not be late. [indiscernible] susan: you looked pretty sharp. lual: thank you.
[laughter] susan: you had to get it for the conference in washington? yeah. so people should know the u.s. institute of peace is part of the u.s. state department. so what happened next? lual: it really helped me understand the business part of it. and now, we can use -- start up to be able to use technology. on conflict resolution. and also getting to sit down in with experts -- sit down with experts in the conflict resolution area. that has helped me connect with universities so they can give me guideline and also understand what conflict is because my main focus is the practical part of it. so i would need it. so that i can be able to put them into practice, yeah. susan: so how did you get here permanently?
lual: so from there, i started working. i went back to the refugee camp actually after this. and then from there i got a visa from the world bank. susan: what does a g visa allow you to do? lual: it's a program that really help you to like -- it's like department -- it's like a green card. but it really is more like to make you stay like for 10 years and so on. susan: and why did you decide to settle in washington, d.c.? lual: because first of all, i -- it's -- there's a diversity in -- in washington, d.c. there's a lot of people here. there's a lot of organization here. there's a lot of -- because my focus is also like to see the other part of like the social impact part of most of -- one -- what organizations are doing so that i can be able to react and learn. but along with business, i can always go to san francisco with the thing to do it like a video game. but the good thing is like -- it felt like home to me.
d.c. felt like home to me. it's not like it's too much. it's not huge. it's not like new york. but like i -- i love it because it really is like the communities are really great here. and there's also diversities. so i feel like it's a great place to live. susan: another big recognition came in 2018. facebook has a conference -- gaming conference. and they recognized you as a global gaming citizen. let's watch a little bit of that. lual: yeah. >> now, tonight the game awards in facebook gaming are recognizing global gaming citizens, people who enriching the lives of others around the world through video games. we're going to tell the story of three people that i think you should meet and hear their stories. and i'm so proud to have these in the game awards. first up, please take a look at his story.
lual: you know, being in a refugee camp is not easy. are you going to leave tomorrow, -- live tomorrow -- are you not going to live tomorrow? i asked my mom to buy me a computer. she saved up money for over three years. it was that moment just turned everything -- everything is possible for me. susan: 26 million people watched that event on facebook. what happened to you after that? lual: its really helped me a lot. this is actually the main -- the main -- the recognition really helped me like get into the game industry and connect with really great people, the game industry especially people that are running successful video games. like special like santa monica studio and one of my -- my best industry friend right now that we are collaborating together and made a video game called god of war. it's one of the best video games of all time. that really helped me to share my ideas and also like see where what the next 10 years is going
to be for me. and connecting you in business. it's killing myself -- i know. making sure that the game for social good has a space in the video game industry. this is a moment that really put us in the mouth of the video game industry. susan: you formed a company called genube games? what does that mean? lual: genube is like the south. it's based near washington. susan: and do you have employees? lual: so right now, we have -- we have people in are working on the game. everywhere like here in d.c. we are in san francisco and we also have two people in brazil. susan: how are you getting your funding? lual: a lot of things are now more self-funding. but we have people are really supporting us -- we have a friend that is supporting us to like keep -- so question it in
-- so we can finish the game. susan: you want to say his name? lual: luol deng has been an amazing person. timberwolves. he played in l.a. then he played in the miami heat. and he played for the bulls. susan: and he's south sudanese. so you connected through your heritage. so where is your family now? lual: so yeah, that's a good thing. right now, my family is in canada. my family moved to canada four months ago from a refugee camp. susan: and how did that finally happen? lual: that happened because when i came here, my biggest -- my biggest focus was like -- what can i do to help my family? what can i do to help my mother? and i worked so hard so that i can work hand-in-hand with the canadian government to help them take them to canada. and it was really a good thing that happened.
susan: so tell me about your goal for them? do you hope to get them to the it united states at some point? lual: my goal for them -- right now, they are -- first of all, i was having a conversation with my mother actually -- and, and the first time she called me she was like, thank you. that moment changed my life when she went to canada because i never thought my mother was ever tell me thank you. what she has done to me was more than i ever was going to be able to do for her. and that thank you was really amazing. and the first thing she was telling me was like -- we have a lot of food here. how i can get it back? because yes, she has maybe some relatives that are suffering back there. and i was like, that is how life is. think what it was is eat what you have. you have and you cannot have.
and my brothers, my sisters do well. they go to school now in canada. so they have a bit more opportunities than me right now. my younger brother is playing soccer, like really professional. and in some part in canada. the plan for them -- their plan for me is just -- for my brothers to follow the right path in life. that's my main focus and see what that means in -- to them. susan: we've got about 10 minutes. and i want to do some wrap-up questions with you. first of all, so much has happened to you in such a short time. you're 25 years old. and the arc of your life from refugee camp to living in washington, d.c. and having connections all over the world, having developed this game. having the "washington post" and cbs news do stories about you. how are you processing all of this? lual: it's really hard. it's really hard to process because it's -- it's never been something that i ever dream of.
but again -- it give me so much hope that people -- there's a -- there's millions of people, there's a lot of refugees. and this really helped me to --be able to like compress everything. make sure that things like this happen. and also just go with the flow. making this and showing refugees that they can not just only survive but we can thrive. something like this, it's an example of to be the voice for the refugees and give people we can be entrepreneurs. we can employ people. we can make businesses. we can do anything that we wish to do as refugees. and to me it was that kind of press that i'm getting right now. i'm like what can i do to give
back. one of the things that i'm doing right now. and i'm beginning in january, starting a program in refugee camps to train refugees to become developers. that's something i have been working on, and i am so happy that i'm collaborating with a lot of big company to give them resources. and we're going to be discussing -- and we are going to begin this in january. so that's something i'm really excited about so we can have more refugees that can be developers and entrepreneurs, yeah. susan: can you go back to south sudan? what's the political situation like there? lual: south sudan, it's crazy. you can -- you can go back. but it's a personal decision where you can say, i got go, and everything is fine, it's ok. if everything is not good, it's like a personal decision. but like everything is not like really good. susan: you want to be an example for refugees. lual: yeah. susan: let me flip the coin. there are so many refugee displaced populations all over
the world right now. what do you want people to know about refugees? what should we know as we're all having these challenges in countries with large populations coming in? what's the message you want to give to them about that? lual: the message i need give to them -- as a refugee by -- like myself, the moment i became a -- the moment i became a refugee, was the moment i had that peace of mind. but i want people to understand is the journey. what it takes someone to become a refugee. you understand the root of that, then it would help you that you can be part to change the world. we can do everything to be able to make refugee communities better. the journey is important. susan: how is your mother processing everything that has happened to you? lual: she's happy. she's having a better life right
now. and that's all she is. that's all she wants. at the end of the day, she doesn't understand what i was doing because she's not educate. -- she's not educated. sometime i would just tell her, hey, i'm doing something. but i understand that. at the end of the day, she's very happy and what has gone on. and she's very happy that i -- what she worked for has actually helped the family and also the world as well. yeah. susan: so if we check in with you in five years, 10 years from now, are we going to see a world recognized video game developer or are going to see a world recognized spokesperson for the plight of displaced people? where do you want this to go? is the game a means to an end or are they the end? lual: that's a good question. you're going to see me like -- you know, it's going to be a big company in the next five, 10 years. that's my dream.
and some other paths i'm going to take in life, like entertainment, the film industry, maybe. to be able to make sure like, again, as a refugee, i will never stop talking about refugees because it is my life for ever i go. because i will always remind people who the refugees because -- who the refugee is because it's a crisis that goes every day. i'm not someone who say come and talk about refugees. it's part of my life. the videogame industry, i'm going to stick with. i'm going to make the social good community, make more games in terms of business, and terms of import, in time of this back to my game, macking sure we help--making sure we help millions of people in my game in our purchases. susan: do you hope to be a u.s. citizen? lual: yes that's a good question. yes. susan: why is this important to
you? lual: this is a great country that a lot of people dream of living in. it's an amazing country. it's a lot of diversity. there's a lot of -- it's a great -- it's a great country. susan: what do you want people to know about your experience with immigration since we're having a big debate about it? you tried one time and couldn't get through because of a program. and you're here now. what should we know about how the system works, from your perspective? lual: i'm pretty sure -- it's something that i really -- i feel like we could do better because i want -- because i don't want people to go through and what people want. i don't -- want to come to this i country. so i feel like, i think we can do better. you know, we can look into the humanity of people and see how we can help them if it makes sense. susan: i would be delighted to be able to check in with you in five years to see how your dreams and aspirations work out. lual: thank you, thank you for having me.
susan: thank you for spending an hour with c-span. i appreciate it. ♪ >> all q&a programs are available on our website or as a podcast at c-span.org. ♪ >> on the next q&a, we talked to craig about his book "author and chief." which looks at books written by u.s. presidents, including teddy roosevelt, calvin coolidge, and barack obama. that's next sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific, on c-span's q&a. z, oyez, oyez.
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