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Rutgers University, Newark, Program Offers Provocative Insights Into Lives of Child Soldiers

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A March 22 talk will offer a chilling first-hand look at the lives of children forced to fight in wars.  Former child soldier Ishmael Beah will hold   “A Conversation on Child Soldiers,” on March 22, from  6-8 p.m., in the Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library, 185 University Ave., on the campus of Rutgers University, Newark.   

During the 1990s, Beah, then a 12-year-old in Sierra Leone, found himself part of the national army, hunting rebel fighters with an AK-47.  Rescued and rehabilitated by the United Nations, he has since earned a B.A. degree from Oberlin College.

Beah, who is the author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (http://www.alongwaygone.com/),  is currently a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights at Rutgers University, Newark.  He joined the staff of the Center this semester and will be at Rutgers for at least a year, doing research, writing, lecturing and meeting with students.  “The contribution that Ishmael Beah brings to the Center and the University is invaluable,” explains Aldo Civico. “His life experience, his knowledge and wisdom are crucial to bridge theory and practice, which is so essential for the field of conflict resolution,” according to Civico, assistant professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, Newark, and co-director of the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights.

The March 22 program will take the form of a conversation with Civico. The event is sponsored by the Center.  

Dana Library Hall is handicapped-accessible, adjacent to a public parking garage and easily reached by mass transit:  http://www.newark.rutgers.edu/maps/

The former child soldier is also scheduled to participate in the peace education summit planned for the city of Newark in May.