Khaled Hosseini, best-selling author of "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns," to deliver Fairfield University's Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture


Khaled Hosseini, who has helped readers around the world gain a deep understanding of Afghanistan's people and their oppressions through his best-selling books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, will deliver Fairfield University's Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture. The talk entitled, "The Voices of Afghanistan," will take place on Thursday, October 8 at 8 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Hosted by Fairfield University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, the event is presented in conjunction with the Open VISIONS Forum lecture series of University College, and is made possible by a gift from the Frank Jacoby Foundation. It is also co-sponsored by the Offices of the Dean of Freshmen and New Student Programs. Tickets are $45. You may purchase them at the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010 or the toll free number at 877-ARTS-396.

Gita Rajan, Ph.D., professor of English at Fairfield, has invited Hosseini to conduct a workshop with students enrolled in the intradisciplinary course, "Gateway to Literary and Cultural Studies." Taught by four English professors, the course focuses on instructing students about globalization through literature. Using interactive maps with hyperlinks, poetry, film, lectures and theatre, students are learning to understand how the economic, historical, political, artistic and cultural environment, present when a piece of literature was written, helped to shape it. Also taking part in the workshop will be Malalay Wazir, an Afghan woman, who is a member of Vital Voices Rising Leaders, an NGO working to make gender equity a priority around the world.

Dr. Rajan, who is on the Connecticut Council of Vital Voices Global Leadership, said of the author: "Hosseini portrays his actors in such fine detail that it makes Afghanistan's harsh, current realities throb on the page, which awakens the reader's ethical sensibilities."

The Jesuit educated Hosseini, 43, was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. In 1980, his family was granted political asylum in the United States. He grew up in San Jose, Calif. After earning a bachelor's degree in biology from Santa Clara University, he earned a medical degree from the University of California-San Diego's School of Medicine. While practicing as an internist, Hosseini wrote his first novel, The Kite Runner, a smash hit which brought him worldwide acclaim. Published in 2001, the book reached #1 on The New York Times best-seller list, and stayed on the list for five years. It was published in 48 countries and made into a film of the same name. Publishers Weekly commented of The Kite Runner: "Stunning ... a complete work of literature that succeeds in exploring the culture of a previously obscure nation that has become a pivot point in the global politics of the new millennium."

Published in 2007, his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns was also translated into dozens of languages. "A Thousand Splendid Suns is an ambitious work," The New York Times commented. "Once again the setting is Afghanistan, but this time (Hosseini) has taken the last 33 years of that country's tumultuous history of war and oppression and told it on an intimate scale, through the lives of two women."

Through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, the author has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. The concept for the foundation was inspired by a trip the author made there in 2007 as a goodwill envoy with the United Nations Refugee Agency. "Armed conflict, natural disaster, disease, hunger, and the ruthless rule of extremist regimes have created human suffering on a scale that is hard for those of us living in the West to imagine," Hosseini said of his native country.

For more information about the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, visit www.fairfield.edu/judaic. For more information about The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, visit http://www.khaledhosseinifoundation.org.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 17, 2009

Vol. 42, No. 58