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NMSU Honors College hopes to broaden student horizons

The story of a young boy fleeing Afghanistan and ending up in California is sure to spark some discussion among freshman honors students at the first meeting of the New Mexico State University Honors College's Reading in Common program, said William Eamon, dean of the Honors College.

ding in Common program requires participating students to read a book chosen by the Honors College faculty relating to current world events and to be prepared to discuss the book with fellow students. Students will meet in discussion groups with faculty and upperclass honors students from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, at the Conroy Honors Center during Aggie Welcome Week.

For this year's program the book chosen is "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini. "The Kite Runner" is a coming-of-age story about a young boy who flees his homeland and must come to terms with the struggle of growing up across two different cultures.

"We live in a global world. In order for our students to be successful in their lives they must have knowledge of what is happening from a global, international and multicultural perspective," Eamon said.
He said "The Kite Runner" provides just that.

"The book deals with a highly politically charged country. Afghanistan is a place we've been seeing in the news a lot lately," he said. "And, of course, Islam is a religion and culture that students should have some familiarity with."

This is a growing program for the Honors College. This year more than 70 students have signed up; more than triple the number of students from last year, when the program was launched.

Free copies of "The Kite Runner" were provided to all freshman honor students wishing to participate in the program through a partnership with the local Barnes & Noble, located in the Mesilla Valley Mall.

"We would never have been able to furnish the books out of our own budget," said Eamon. "But thanks to the partnership with Barnes & Noble we were able to do it."

The Reading in Common program is part of a series of events the Honors College will host revolving around a theme related to the Middle East with the hope that it will help students broaden their horizons and become more aware of the world they live in.

Every semester the Honors College sponsors the University Speakers Series, which brings to Las Cruces distinguished lecturers who will appeal to a broad community audience.

This semester's speaker will be Vali Nasr on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Music Recital Hall. Nasr is considered an expert on the Islamic world and Muslim politics. As a consultant to the Department of State, he has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Senate on the Muslim world.

The Honors College also will be sponsoring a six film series "Afghanistan on Film" throughout the fall semester.

"We chose the Middle East and Islamic culture as our theme for the semester because of its high relevance for today's international scene," Eamon said. "Students need these different perspectives to use as tools after they graduate."

For more information on the Reading in Common program, the University Speakers Series or the film series contact the Honors College at (505) 646-2005 or visit http://honors.nmsu.edu/.

Bianca L. Granado
Aug. 16, 2006