This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

January Speakers

Noor Elashi, a Palestinian-American graphic designer and writer based in New York City, will lecture on the topic “Jews and Muslims in America Striving for Justice” in Sanders Classroom 212 at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, January 26. Elashi, a former journalist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is the daughter of Ghassan Elashi, a backer of the charity Holy Land Foundation for Relief. Along with four other supporters of the Dallas-based organization, in 2008 he was convicted of financially supporting terrorism, despite the humanitarian nature of much of the money the Holy Land Foundation sent to the Middle East. Elashi has responded to her father’s sentencing—he faces 65 years in prison—through activist work, writing about the trial for Counterpunch and the Huffington Post. She is currently pursuing an MFA at the New School in New York City. Hear about the case on Democracy Now.

Nyuol Tong, a former South Sudanese refugee, pictured, will deliver the lecture “A Refugee’s Journey: A Quest for Freedom and Identity” at 5:00 pm on Sunday, January 30 in Rockefeller Hall, Room 200. Tong, now an undergraduate at Duke University, was granted a student visa to a boarding school in California after fleeing to Cairo with his family. There, he started the Sudan Education for Liberty Foundation (SELF), an organization dedicated to promoting education as a vehicle for liberation in the war-torn country. Said Tong in a 2008 Santa Barbara Independent article, “I’m talking as a human being; I’m not talking as a Sudanese, and every human being deserves an education.” He continues to tour around the country speaking to promote awareness. Watch a video of an interview with Tong.

– Cynthea Ballard ’13

January 2011

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