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Human rights activist, author Ishmael Beah will share his journey Sept. 23 in University Lectures presentation
Human rights activist, author Ishmael Beah will share his journey Sept. 23 in University Lectures presentationSeptember 15, 2008Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Ishmael Beah’s childhood effectively ended when he was 12, when he fled attacking rebels in his war-town homeland of Sierra Leone and was forced into service as a child soldier for the government army. Now a human rights activist and author, Beah travels the world to share his experiences and his journey in gaining back his humanity.
Beah will present “The Making, and Unmaking, of a Boy Soldier” on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel, the first event in Syracuse University’s 2008-09 University Lectures series.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored in cooperation with the Laura Hanhausen Milton First-Year Lecture in The College of Arts and Sciences and the Syracuse Symposium, presented by The College of Arts and Sciences. Reduced rate parking for the event is available in the Irving Avenue Garage.
Beah’s 2007 memoir, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was SU’s 2008 Shared Reading selection. Beah will deliver the Laura Hanhausen Milton First-Year Lecture to first-year students in The College of Arts and Sciences on Sept. 22 and will meet with a class of high school students at Manlius-Pebble Hill School in DeWitt on Sept. 23.
Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980 and spent about four years — from ages 12-16 — as a child soldier, finding himself capable of performing truly horrific acts. At age 16, he was relocated to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, where he began his healing process. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. In 2004, he graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Now residing in New York City, Beah is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and many other NGO panels on children affected by the war. His work has appeared in Vespertine Press and LIT magazine.
Now in its eighth year, the University Lectures continues its tradition of bringing to the Syracuse University campus some of the most influential movers and shapers from around the world for the 2008-09 season. Eight distinguished speakers have been invited by the University Lectures this year to educate in the areas of human rights, the 2008 presidential election, race and American public schools, innovation and exploration. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s trustees, alumni and friends.
The 2008 Syracuse Symposium invites the SU and Central New York communities to explore “migration” through engaging lectures, concerts, exhibitions and award-winning films during the semester-long intellectual and artistic festival presented by The College of Arts and Sciences. More information on lectures, performances, exhibitions and other special events is available at http://syracusesymposium.org.