Free Tickets Offered to Schools for Ishmael Beah Lecture

Release Date: September 14, 2007 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo is offering Western New York schools free tickets for students to attend a lecture by human rights activist and best-selling author Ishmael Beah to be held at 8 p.m. on Oct. 24 in Alumni Arena on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

The free tickets are made possible through the support of the UB Division of Student Affairs and are a continuation of annual free lectures that began in 2004 with a talk by Steven Squyres, a nationally regarded astronomer perhaps best known as the face of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission. Free tickets also were made available to local students for the lectures by physicist and groundbreaking string theorist Brian Greene and former vice president Al Gore.

To encourage area students to get involved with global issues and reading, UB is offering every high school in Western New York up to 40 complimentary tickets each on a first-come basis while the ticket supply lasts. Additional tickets may be requested, but availability of extra tickets will not be known until after the Oct. 5 deadline.

Beah is the author of this year's UB Reads selection, "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier." A native of Sierra Leone, Beah's childhood was ended abruptly by civil war and the deaths of his parents and two brothers. At the age of 13, he became one of an estimated 300,000 child soldiers fighting in more than 50 conflicts around the world. He fought for more than two years before being removed from the army by UNICEF and placed in a rehabilitation home in Sierra Leone. He was adopted by Laura Simms, a professional storyteller who lives in New York, completed high school at the United Nations International School and went on to Oberlin College in Ohio.

Today, he is a passionate advocate for the plight of child soldiers and children affected by war around the world, speaking on behalf of UNICEF, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Secretary General's Office for Children and Armed Conflict.

"The issue of children in global war and peace is complex and challenging," said Dennis Black, vice president for student affairs. "We hope to expose young people in Western New York to the plight of young people in harms way around the world and to explore how we can make a difference in our world and theirs."

Participating schools should provide each faculty/staff member or parent accompanying the students with a ticket from their allotment. Schools will be responsible for arranging transportation for students to and from the event.

Requests for tickets should be made by the principal or one faculty or staff member who will act as the sole liaison for the school and will distribute the students' tickets. Request forms can be downloaded at and may be obtained by calling the UB Office of Special Events at 645-6147, ext. 227. Forms should be postmarked no later than Oct. 5 to assure timely delivery of tickets.

Beginning at 6 p.m. and immediately following the lecture, UB will host a Civic Engagement Fair in Alumni Arena, featuring a variety of community organizations dedicated to human rights and protecting the world's children.

For more information on Beah and the other distinguished speakers appearing at UB, visit

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