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Community Read explores Malala’s story

Posted 01/29/16

I am MalalaFitchburg State University’s Community Read of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s acclaimed book I am Malala continues in March with film screenings, lectures and art exhibits. All of the Community Read events are free and open to the public.

Yousafzai’s memoir is a remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism and the fight for girls’ education, and tells the story of a father – himself a school owner – who championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school.

The real-life story of the first woman to lead a Muslim nation is told in the film Bhutto, screening at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 1st in the Falcon Hub at Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St. Taking an unprecedented position as an Islamic woman, Benazir Bhutto rose to power as prime minister of Pakistan three times. Surviving years of exile and/or imprisonment as well as accusations of corruption, she never relinquished Pakistan as her homeland and a place she wanted to fight for. Pizza will be served during the movie. The screening will be introduced by Professor Irene Martyniuk.

Director Davis Guggenheim’s acclaimed film He Named Me Malala will be screened at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3rd at Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall. The screening will be introduced by Associate Professor Viera Lorencova.

The Community Read keynote speaker and reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 7th in the Randall Lecture Hall in the Antonucci Science Complex, 333 North St. Dr. Saadia Toor is originally from Pakistan and is currently associate professor of sociology and women's studies at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. Her scholarship revolves around issues of culture, nationalism, gender/sexuality, state formation, and international political economy. She is the author of The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan which explored the relationship between culture and politics in Pakistan. She also co-edited a special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly on the theme of Solidarity in November 2014.

Toor’s talk on March 7th will look at the broader lessons to be taken from Malala’s story and the ways in which it has been framed, circulated and consumed in different parts of the world. Highlighting the complex working of power across the globe, Toor will outline the issues and implications for understanding and addressing the status of women in the world today. The talk is also part of the University’s observance of Women’s History Month.

Director Zhang Yimou’s acclaimed film Not One Less will screen at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, March 17th at the Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St. Yimou’s 1999 film tells charming story of a 13-year old substitute teacher in rural China who’s been promised a bonus if she keeps her young charges from dropping out of school. The film will be introduced by Fitchburg State Assistant Professor Adem Elveren.

Guggenheim’s film He Named Me Malala will screen again at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, March 20th at the Lunenburg Public Library, 1023 Massachusetts Ave., Lunenburg. Associate Professor Joseph Moser will introduce that screening.

In the Hammond Hall Art Gallery, the work of artist Lalla Essaydi is on display through Wednesday, April 13th. Fitchburg Art Museum Director Nick Capasso will give a talk at the gallery in Hammond Hall at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23rd. Considered an expert on Essaydi’s work, Capasso organized the exhibition “Lalla Essaydi: Les Femmes du Maroc” for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in 2009. A reception will follow.

Essaydi’s art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body, addresses the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience.  In much of her work, she returns to her Moroccan girlhood, looking back on it as an adult woman caught somewhere between past and present, and as an artist, exploring the language in which to “speak” from this uncertain space.

The acclaimed film Wadjda will be screened at 6 pm. Thursday, March 31st at the Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, Wadjda is the story of a fun-loving 10-year old girl determined to turn her dreams into reality. A groundbreaking film that is hilarious, heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. The screening will be introduced by Fitchburg State University Associate Professor Joseph Moser.

There will be a panel discussion and reception at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5th in the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library, during which Fitchburg State faculty members will discuss the cultural and historical factors surrounding the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai.

The events continue at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 5th in the Falcon Hub in Hammond Hall with a screening of the acclaimed film Timbuktu (2014). The film is the story of a cattle herder and his family who find their quiet lives abruptly disturbed by jihadists determined to control their faith. Pizza will be served during the movie. The screening will be presented by interim Dean of Library and Academic Support Centers Sean Goodlett.

The film It’s A Girl will screen at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, April 21st at the Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St. Director Evan Grae Davis’ film looks at the phenomenon of babies killed, abandoned or selectively aborted because they are girls. This devaluation of females has led to rampant violence against women and a growing female “gendercide.”

There will be a community book discussion of Malala’s book at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 27th at the Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St.

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