01/05/11 — Reading campaign beginning next week

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Reading campaign beginning next week

By Staff Reports
Published in News on January 5, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the country where American troops are fighting when the Wayne County Reads campaign kicks into gear next week with the first of two months of public events.

Tim Nichols of Duke University's School of Public Policy will speak Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College on "Afghanistan: Understand-ing the Struggle."

This year, Wayne County Reads is focusing on two books about the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. attempt to create a democracy in the region.

"Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time," is one of two books by author Greg Mortenson, who has spent a decade in the region. The other is "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Both deal with Mortenson's work to build schools in the war-torn part of the world.

The books should be of special interest to Wayne County residents. Many men and women at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base have been stationed or are currently stationed in the region.

Nichols' appearance will be just the first of two months of discussions, seminars, films and presentations regarding the war on terrorism and its consequences for both the Afghan people and the U.S.

A highlight of the series will be an appearance Jan. 15 by Wayne County native Karl Eikenberry, a former top U.S. Army commander and now the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, who will speak about the U.S. presence in the region.

Events will continue through early March, with a highlight of the program a photo exhibit entitled "A Country, A People," featuring photos taken by military personnel during their tours of duty in Afghanistan. It will be on display at the Arts Council of Wayne County. 4th Fighter Wing commander Col. Patrick Doherty will talk at the opening of the photo exhibit Friday, Jan. 21.

Other events scheduled include a presentation on the history and traditions of Islam, a panel discussion on the military experience in Afghanistan and a panel discussion on the experiences of women in the U.S. military in Afghanistan and other Islamic countries.

Events will culminate with an Afghan cultural festival, complete with authentic food and music, in late February.

Wayne County Reads has, since 2004, encouraged residents to read and encourage public discussion of the topics posed by the books chosen. Last year's efforts were focused on science fiction and centered on Ray Bradbury's classic, "Fahrenheit 451," and its subject of censorship.

For more information about the Wayne County Reads program, visit www.waynereads.