Life and career
He was educated at Khartoum University (Bachelor of Laws) and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) and a Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) from Yale University. He also took graduate courses at King's College London.
Under Presidents Ismail al-Azhari and Gaafar Nimeiry Dr. Deng served as Human Rights Officer in the United Nations Secretariat (from 1967 to 1972) and subsequently as the Ambassador of Sudan to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. He also served as the Sudan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. After leaving his country’s service, he was appointed the first Rockefeller Brothers Fund Distinguished Fellow.
From 1992 until 2004 Dr. Francis M. Deng of the Sudan served as the United Nations' first Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.
On 29 May 2007, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Deng as the new Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, a position he held until 17 July 2012 at the level of Under-Secretary General.
From 2006 to 2007, Deng served as director of the Sudan Peace Support Project based at the United States Institute of Peace. He also was an Wilhelm Fellow at the Center for International Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a research professor of international politics, law and society at Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Deng was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the John Kluge Center of the Library of Congress. Dr. Deng served as Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons from 1992 to 2004, and from 2002 to 2003 was also a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.
He was at the Woodrow Wilson International Center first as a guest scholar and then as a senior research associate, after which he joined the Brookings Institution as a senior fellow, where he founded and directed the Africa Project for 12 years. He was then appointed distinguished professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York before joining Johns Hopkins University.
Representatives of UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide with Former Special Adviser Dr. Francis Deng, 2011
Among his numerous awards in his country and abroad, Dr. Deng is co-recipient with Roberta Cohen of the 2005 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for “Ideas Improving World Order”  and the 2007 Merage Foundation American Dream Leadership Award. In 2000, Dr. Deng also received the Rome Prize for Peace and Humanitarian Action.
He has authored and edited 40 books in the fields of law, conflict resolution, internal displacement, human rights, anthropology, folklore, history and politics and has also written two novels on the theme of the crisis of national identity in the Sudan. He was born in 1938 and in 1972 married Dorothy Anne Ludwig, with whom he has four sons, Donald, Daniel, David and Dennis.
- Bound by Conflict: Dilemmas of the Two Sudans (International Humanitarian Affairs. with Kevin M. Cahill M.D. (FUP))Mar 1, 2016
- Identity, Diversity, and Constitutionalism in AfricaNov (1, 2008)
- Talking it Out: Stories in Negotiating Human Relations (Kegan Paul, 2006)
- A Strategic Vision for Africa: The Kampala Movement, with I. William Zartman (2002)
- African Reckoning: A Quest for Good Governance, co-editor with Terrence Lyons (1998)
- Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement, with Roberta Cohen (1998)
- The Forsaken People: Case Studies of the Internally Displaced, co-editor with Roberta Cohen (1998)
- Seed of redemption, 1986?
- War of Visions: Conflicting Identities in the Sudan (1995)
- Human Rights in Africa: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, ed. with Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im (1990)
- Cry of the Owl (Lilian Barber Press, Inc., 1989)
- Tradition and Modernization: A Challenge for Law Among the Dinka of the Sudan (1987)
- Dinka Folktales: African Stories from the SudanJun 1984
- Dinka Cosmology (Sudan studies)(1980)
- Dynamics of identification : a basis for national integration in the Sudan (1973)