Through our global great works curriculum and our unique study away opportunities, Liberal Studies fosters a global learning community. Our students become deeply engaged in the issues that define our world. We recently hosted guest speaker Ishmael Beah, whose life and work reflect many of these values.
Ishmael Beah has written powerfully of his experience as a child solder in the Sierra Leone Civil War, and as powerfully of his struggle to escape that life and its legacy. His memoir, A Long Way Gone, was published in 2007, and this year he published his first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, set during the rebuilding of his home country following the Civil War. In an evening of conversation with LS faculty member, Christian Parenti, that opened this year’s Global Lecture Series, Beah discussed these experiences as well as his awareness, as an African in the United States, about the “othering” of Africa’s issues in the American media. From his own experience, Beah cited the dearth of news coverage about Sierra Leone after the Civil War ended and the current negative stereotypes that are embedded in coverage of the Ebola outbreak.
Liberal Studies students don’t want to be mere citizens of the world — they aspire to become the global leaders who will not only understand the problems our world faces but will help develop their solutions. It was inspiring to hear Ishmael Beah, a leader in this space, share his story.