“Wednesday, the University of Akron will host the First-Year Lecture in the Green room of E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. This year’s lecture features Debra Johanyak, author of Behind the Veil: An American Woman’s Memoir of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.””
Wednesday, the University of Akron will host the First-Year Lecture in the Green room of E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
This year’s lecture features Debra Johanyak, author of Behind the Veil: An American Woman’s Memoir of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.
UA chose the memoir for the 2007-2008 common reading selection that all incoming freshmen were required to read, and will be referenced in many general education classes this semester.
University College and the Office of New Student Orientation sponsor the First-Year Lecture as part of UA’s First Year Experience Program, an initiative designed to help incoming students start strong.
Johanyak, this year’s featured speaker, now a professor of English at Wayne, was a teaching assistant at Iran’s Shiraz University during the time her book takes place.
In her memoir she describes herself at that time as A woman with dual citizenship, suspended between two feuding governments, like divorced parents with shared custody…
She said that some international students, in moving from one culture to another may share similar experiences.
It taught me to be more accepting of people in general and find ways to bridge differences in order to communicate effectively and positively, Johanyak said.
In her book Johanyak looks at social and political situations in Iran before, during and after the 1979 hostage crisis and attempts to paint a picture of the cultural, religious and political climate as she experienced it.
Johanyak provides the reader with sharp insights into similarities as well as differences between the two cultures (American and Iranian), Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls, said, as quoted by The University of Akron Press in a review of Behind the Veil.
Johanyak says that by participating in the First-Year Lecture she hopes to encourage UA students to prepare for learning opportunities that will help address current and future global concerns including U.S.-Iran relations.
According to Johanyak, many people in the West do not have much accurate information about Iran’s culture and people, along with its attitudes toward the United States.
UA students in preparing to assume leadership roles, deserve the opportunity to better understand this complex geographical region, with its attendant political issues, she said.
Johanyak hopes that her experience might inspire others to explore different cultures and political issues in proactive ways.
Behind the Veil is a part of a series on international, political and economic history published by the University of Akron Press.
Johanyak’s lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are available to the general public at E.J. Thomas Hall Box Office for $8.
The lecture is free for UA students, staff and faculty with a valid Zip Card.