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First-Year Read hosts award-winning author Ishmael Beah

Friday, October 11, 2013

FREDERICK, Md.—An award-winning author will recount his experiences as a former child soldier Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Hodson Auditorium in Rosenstock Hall at Hood College.

Ishmael Beah, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, will discuss his experiences during the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. There is no charge for the event, but tickets are required. Tickets can be reserved beginning Oct. 16 by calling 301-696-3140. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

At the age of 12, Beah fled his Sierra Leone village and the attacking rebels. By age 13, the government army had commandeered him, his brother and his friends, and Beah found that he was capable of committing terrible acts. Rescued from the fighting by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at his rehabilitation center, he regained his humanity and learned how to forgive himself.

Beah 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. Subsequently, he graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor's degree in political science.

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 VespertinePress and LIT magazine.

Beah's lecture is part of the Hanson Lecture Series, made possible through the Robert D. and Barbara Esmer Hanson '45 Fund of the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Hood and Gettysburg colleges are beneficiaries of the fund, which provides for speakers of national and international prominence to visit the campuses.