Events promoting this year’s UAB discussion book, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, have been illuminating, entertaining and appreciated, say those who visited the Birmingham Museum of Art for College Night at the Museum and the Alys Stephens Center for the dramatic performance of the book by veteran theatre and television actor Arian Moayed.
Those attending the events say they are learning more about the book and how it relates to both UAB and the greater Birmingham community.
“We are in the continual process of building a strong community within UAB and with all of Birmingham,” said Warren Martin, Ph.D., professor of management, marketing and industrial distribution, who attended College Night. “Events such as the visit to the museum are substantial steps towards our goals.
“As we share ideas and understand each other better, our concern and pride in our community grows.”
Faculty, staff and students had the opportunity to learn about art history as it relates to The Kite Runner at the museum in late August.
That’s when Museum Chief Curator Donald Wood examined the Bamiyan Buddhas and their demise at the hands of the Taliban. For more than 1,500 years, two large stone Buddhas stood guard over the valley of Bamiyan in the area now called Afghanistan. These sculptures and countless others were destroyed by the Taliban in March of 2001 as part of a campaign to rid the land of un-Islamic graven images.
“The description of the Taliban in Kabul was chilling and a reminder that absolute power corrupts absolutely and that brutal things can be done in the name of religion,” says Diane C. Tucker, Ph.D., director of the Science and Technology Honors Program.
“The extension of the story from The Kite Runner to the defacing of artwork brought more aspects of the book to life, and it took it from a story of one small group of people to the tragic story of the fate of a nation,” adds Martin.
Stephanie N. Judkins, O.D., a family practice resident in the UAB School of Optometry, attended the dramatic rendition of The Kite Runner Sept. 11. She came away impressed with the performance.
“The show was very well-performed, and the part of the story it told was definitely enough to stand on its own, even for people who have not yet read the book,” Judkins says.
Judkins says she is particularly fond of the book, saying the story could be about children from anywhere in the world.
“We all have things in our past that we regret and that sometimes haunt us for years,” Judkins says. “The unique thing about The Kite Runner, though, is that it tells this universal story of friendship and forgiveness while also allowing us to relate to characters in a country that we maybe aren’t so familiar with.”
Tucker says events like these are important not only in better understanding the book, but important to UAB students and the UAB community.
“I view the Museum of Art as one of Birmingham’s treasures,” Tucker says.
“Events like College Night at the Museum provide an opportunity for students to discover the museum and for faculty and students to come together as a true academic community.”
The discussion book is part of UAB’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and is designed to unite the UAB community by promoting civic involvement and the practice of open, safe, respectful dialogue about often controversial issues.
To learn more about The Kite Runner, or to nominate a book to consider for next year’s discussion book, visit www.uab.edu/discussionbook .