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Author, Human Rights Activist Ishmael Beah to Speak at App State Convocation on Sept. 3

Best-selling author and human rights activist Ishmael Beah will speak at Appalachian State University’s fall convocation Sept. 3. The event begins at 10 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center. The public is invited.

Beah is the author of “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” which was the university’s common reading selection for 2015-16.

Published in more than 40 languages, the memoir was nominated for a Quill Award in the Best Debut Author category for 2007. Time Magazine named the book as one of the Top 10 Nonfiction books of 2007, ranking it No. 3.

The book chronicles Beah’s experiences beginning at age 12 when he fled from attacking rebels in his homeland of Sierra Leone, his capture by the government army at age 13, which forced him to become a child soldier, and his rescue by UNICEF when he was 16.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Beah is a UNICEF Ambassador, an advocate for Children Affected by War, a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee and a former visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University.  He is president of The Ishmael Beah Foundation, which helps children affected by war reintegrate into society by creating and financing educational and vocational opportunities.

Begun in 1997, Appalachian’s Common Reading Program invites incoming freshmen to read a common book as part of their orientation to the university. By participating in the Common Reading Program, entering students participate in a common intellectual activity that helps them develop a sense of community and introduces them to a part of the academic life they are beginning at Appalachian.

Past common reading selections include “Clapton’s Guitar,” “Farm City,” “Mudbound,” “The Glass Castle,” “Freakonomics” and “American Dervish.”