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First-year students participate in new reading initiative

Friday, July 29, 2011

FREDERICK, Md.—First-year students at Hood College are participating in a new initiative designed to provoke discussion and broaden their understanding of the world.

During the summer, students read the highly acclaimed bestseller "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. During orientation in August, Hood College faculty and staff members led students in small group discussions about the themes, issues and conflicts raised in the book. Where appropriate, faculty will incorporate those topics in their classes throughout the fall semester. In addition, Hosseini will discuss the book's themes during classroom visits and at a community lecture Oct. 26.

Two films set in Afghanistan—"The Kite Runner," based on Hosseini's best-selling book by the same title, and a documentary "The Beauty Academy of Kabul"—will be screened later in the semester.

Hosseini’s visit and lecture is part of The Hanson Lecture Series, established by the late Barbara Esmer Hanson, an alumna of Hood College’s class of 1945, and her husband, the late Robert D. Hanson, a 1939 graduate of Gettysburg College, through 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.

Hosseini’s novel recounts the experiences and emotions of two Afghani women whose lives become entangled with the history of recent wars in their country. Despite the bleak outlook of their lives and the devastating effects of war, gender conflicts and poverty on their country, the girls’ story offers the promise of hope and happiness.

Hosseini is also the author of the international and New York Times bestseller “The Kite Runner,” which has been published in 48 countries and sold more than one million copies worldwide.

Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His family sought and was granted political asylum in the United States and moved to California in 1980. He earned a medical degree from the University of California-San Diego and practiced internal medicine for eight years. He serves as a goodwill envoy to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation.