Dr Santino Atem Deng, PhD

Dr Santino Atem Deng is the Co-founder, Chairman/CEO, and chair of the Board of Directors of Ramciel University’s governing body. This body is responsible for managing and overseeing higher-education operations, including general direction, by ensuring that the institution fulfils its responsibilities as detailed in its vision, mission, and goals by meeting its obligations and duties in higher education.


Higher education: Universities and higher educational Institutions attended

2024-2025 | Executive Master of Public Administration | ANZSOG -The Australia and New Zealand School of Government | The University of Melbourne, Australia – Australia’s best university and one of the world’s finest (unimelb.edu.au)

2013-2016 | PhD in Social Science |  Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

2008-2011 | Master of Education/Counselling and Postgraduate Diploma in Education/Counselling | The University of Auckland, New Zealand

2002-2007 | Bachelor of Arts in Education |  Massey University, New Zealand.

2007 | Diploma in Counselling | The Institute of Natural Healing, London.

College/High School

2000-2001 | Year 12 & 13 (Form 4/5) | St Patrick College, Wellington, New Zealand

1998-2000 | Form 1-4 | Napata Secondary School in Kenya

1992-1993 | Grade 3-4 | Chukudum Primary School, Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan

1988-1990 | Grade 1-3 | Panyidu, Gambella, Ethiopia

1985-1987 | Grade 1-3 | Lounyaker Primary School, Gogrial East County, Warrap State, South Sudan.


Dr Deng has worked in education and relevant sectors/areas in different capacities, including parenting, primary to territory/higher education, health (mental health), research and counselling. He is an experienced counsellor, educator, researcher, and trainer specialising in mental health (trauma), education, resettlement & migration, including family and parenting practices. Dr Deng invested in Ramciel University over 20 years of work experience in the education sector, management, research, and teaching in social sciences, and has published widely in various fields of knowledge.

Dr Deng held many community leadership roles, managed community programs/projects, and worked in various non-governmental agencies/organisations (NGOs) and government departments in New Zealand and Australia. He serves in public service as Chairperson of the South Sudanese Australian Youth Justice Expert Working Group | Department of Justice and Community Safety Victoria at the Victorian State Government (Victoria, Australia). Under Dr Deng’s leadership, he is tasked by the government to build trust and durable relationships with the South Sudanese/African Australian Communities to prevent and reduce young people offending and from entering the criminal justice system by diverting them to positive lives, improving community safety and address underlying causes for offending through working with a whole of government department and relevant stakeholders to provide genuine opportunities for children and young people to turn their lives around. His final report with recommendations will lead to systemic changes in supporting South Sudanese, African and other minority groups better in Victoria and Australia. Dr Deng is also an Adjunct Fellow at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. He is also a founder of African-Australian Family and Parenting Support – Efficient and trusted family and parenting support services (afpss.com.au).

Dr Deng’s PhD was an interdisciplinary study encompassing education, psychology/counselling, international migration (resettlement), sociology, and family studies, and investigated changes and challenges in South/Sudanese family dynamics and parenting practices in Australia and internationally. His research examines recent transitions in parenting practices from both parents and young people’s perspectives, drawing on nuanced cultural understandings and contexts to explore various challenges and transitions in parenting practices. His finding provides new insights and helps the countries hosting South/Sudanese in the Diaspora, particularly communities, researchers, policymakers, and service providers, to offer improved family support.

Dr Deng’s primary areas of expertise/work and research interest include refugee/migrant resettlement/settlement, Diaspora (transnational/transitions), family dynamics and parenting in different contexts, community development, family & parent-based approach, social inclusion, education and mental health. He has published widely and presented at international conferences in these areas.


Dr Deng left Sudan during the civil in 1987 at a very young age and went to Ethiopia, where he joined Jesh El-Amer before returning to South Sudan in the 1990s, then to Kenya in the mid-90s before he went to New Zealand in 2000, then to Australia in 2013. His first inspiration was his late father, Justin Deng Anyuon (also known as Deng-Matiat), who was a teacher and taught generations for decades before the independence of Sudan from the 1940s to the late 1980s.

As a member of Jesh El-Amer, he was one of those Late Dr Garang decided to put in schools as he believed that if the country is liberated, they will help fight illiteracy and development in Sudan or South Sudan. Despite being very young, Dr Deng desired to get military training and return to Sudan and fight the oppressors after witnessing the burning down of his primary school in Lounyaker in the mid-80s, among other atrocities. Although they were allowed to train, Dr Garang stressed the significance of putting the youngest ones in schools instead of letting them go to battle in the late 1980s.

Although Dr Deng and many of his colleagues/comrades rejoined the frontline after the Ethiopian crisis, the educational foundation was already built, and the inspiration to continue and finish school became a critical mission for him and his colleagues. His Nephew (Angong) also encouraged him to invest in higher education, and he has been instrumental in managing and pursuing all requirements for the institution to function at its fullest capacity.

Although Dr Deng started his primary school in Lounyaker, it was cut short, and he had to start it all over again under trees in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya. Given that he acquired his education during the war before he went and finished it in Australia/New Zealand, he has witnessed his colleagues/Comrades suffer and struggle to survive but continue to pursue education. He recognizes the significance of education and always wanted to help his people in education, particularly technology and social science.

Dr Deng also contributed to achieving South Sudan’s independence while in the bushes of South Sudan and the Diaspora. He was chairman of the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities and the SPLM Chapter in Diaspora (New Zealand). He attended the SPLM Chapter Leaders International Conference and SPLM 2nd National Convention as a New Zealand and Australia Delegate. He is currently an Advisor to the SPLM Chapter in Australia.

He has been a strong advocate who lobbied and educated the Western countries to understand the plight of South Sudanese and other marginalised groups and appealed for their support, particularly South Sudanese Independence. He remains a firm education advocate, seeing education as a momentous ladder to achieving quality and peaceful life and development, particularly for young people in South Sudan and beyond.