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Tag: Go Big Read

November 11th Lubar Institute Symposium: 
Embattled Ideologies: I Am Malala and the
Question of Women’s Education in South Asia

The Go Big Read program has been fielding requests from the reading community for a venue that allows for deeper conversation of the themes presented in “I Am Malala”, as well as an event that features UW faculty and experts in the region of study.

UW Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions is holding a
free, public symposium on November 11th entitled:  Embattled Ideologies: I Am Malala and the
Question of Women’s Education in South Asia

Event Description: Beyond the dramatic story of Malala
Yousafzai’s life and struggle for women’s education as recounted
in I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was
Shot by the Taliban
—UW-Madison’s Go Big Read book
selection for 2014—lie profound and complex questions: 

 –What are the larger and deeper
ideological forces that underpin the political and
humanitarian forefront of the “Malala” story? How do we make
sense of the perspective of the emancipators even as we want
to unravel the fury of the extremists?
Why are some people staunchly opposed
to extremism but also suspicious of the extraordinary
limelight that Yousafzai has received? And how have certain
claims made in the book offended many Pakistanis, so that
they question the extent of Yousafzai’s authorship? 

How and why do the politics and ethics
of international development aid sometimes backfire? Why are
universal concepts such as “womanhood,” “human rights,” or
even “education” often problematic?

    This symposium brings together scholars
    whose joint expertise cuts across the challenges of women’s
    education in tribal Pakistan, the historical encounter of Islam
    and modernity, and the cultural problematics of international
    aid. The goal of the program is to highlight how in South Asia
    and elsewhere debates about educational reform and women’s
    education in particular do not occur in a vacuum but are highly
    inflected by historically embedded ideologies, and culturally
    and politically vexed notions about human identity, education
    and development.
    Nancy Kendall is Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies,
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, who specializes in ethnographic
    studies of comparative, international, and global education policy. She
    is affiliated with the UW African Studies Program, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Development Studies Program, and Global Health Institute.
    Her research has examined children’s sense-making and
    experiences with gender and education, political
    democratization, sexuality and HIV/AIDS education, and
    orphan-focused international programming.

    Omar Qureshi is currently the principal of the Islamic Foundation School (Villa
    Park, Illinois) with considerable experience of teaching at
    public and private schools in Saudi Arabia and the United States. He
    has studied the Islamic religious sciences with a number of traditional
    scholars in Syria and Saudi Arabia and holds specialization in Islamic
    law and theology. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University–Chicago. His dissertation explores the conception of the highest good in Islamic Education.

    Sidra Rind is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies
    at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She received the Virginia Horne
    Henry Award for her research on female students in the tribal parts of
    Pakistan. She studies how in the province of Balochistan competing
    pressures from the state, the separatists, and the Taliban have shaped
    the educational experience of Pakistani schoolgirls.

    Tayyab Zaidi is a doctoral student in Educational Policy Studies,
    UW–Madison, working toward a dissertation on models of Islamic
    education in America. His research interests cut across the educational
    applications of multimodal and systemic-functional analysis,
    postcolonial studies, and the impact of Muslim organizations. He is a
    recipient of the Fulbright Award and the Higher Education Commission
    Pakistan scholarship. Tayyab holds masters degrees in English as well
    as Applied Linguistics from the University of Karachi, Pakistan, and in
    Educational Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

    Madison Public Library Community Book Groups Continue Into the Fall

    Each year Madison Public Library’s nine locations participate in Go Big Read by hosting community book discussions. MPL’s book discussions are typically long standing groups with a core group of regular attendees who welcome newcomers ready to listen, discuss and share the floor in exploration of the book and author. The list of remaining discussions is below.

    Here are some reactions from librarians that have already hosted discussions this year.
    Each quote is from a different librarian and book discussion group:

    We attempted to understand the birth of the Taliban after the Soviet
    troop withdrawal in 1989– their rise from religious to militant– and
    why they had initial world support, including that of the Reagan and
    Clinton administrations. It was interesting to learn the the Clinton’s
    administration’s flirtation with the Taliban did not last long, as
    Madeleine Albright, incensed by the Taliban’s treatment of women, halted it when she became Secretary of State.

    Many found it a difficult read with the political overtones, the
    anti-Americanism, the detailed historical religious perspective, the
    terminology, and the American unfamiliarity with Pakistan specifically,
    and Islam in general.  Some felt that the book would have held more
    credibility if it hadn’t looked like Malala’s story was being
    manipulated by adults with an agenda to sell books while Malala was
    still in the headlines.  One attendee suggested that, ‘although he had
    great respect for Malala, the book was obvious propaganda.

    We discussed the amazing phenomenon of Malala herself and her wisdom
    beyond her actual years, everyday life and family dynamics in Pakistan,
    all things education, including who has the say over what goes into
    children’s textbooks, whether or not kids here take education for
    granted, etc., religion, religious extremism, the role of the U.S. in
    the Middle East, how the people always get caught between their
    government and the militants and often our government as well, and how
    well that works out for everybody. I think people enjoyed the book and
    Malala’s voice and loved Malala.

    Many in our group were pleased this was a Go Big Read pick because UW
    students would read it– and look beyond their borders and/or discover a
    perspective on ‘the news’ that is more personal. The group also
    appreciated reading more about the Taliban- both the history, the day to
    day changes in Malala’s life because of them, and her courage in
    standing up to them.

    Quite a bit of time was spent thinking about/discussing the issue of
    the co-author– how not knowing what Lamb’s role was or who wrote what
    was distracting to the reader and opened up the possibility that this
    book was not Malala’s story or beliefs totally. The group was very
    interested to hear of the negative reaction to the book (and not Malala)
    in Pakistan.

    *Discussions continue at our libraries and Book Discussion Kits are
    available for private book groups (see below):

    Wednesday, October 22, 6:30-8:00pm at Meadowridge Library, 5740 Raymond
    Rd., Madison, WI, 53711, 288-6160

    Thursday, October 23, 1:00-2:00pm at Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd.,
    Madison, WI, 53711, 266-6385

    Wednesday, November 5, 6:00-7:30pm at Monroe Street Library, 1705 Monroe
    St., Madison, WI, 53711, 266-6390

    Thursday, November 6, 6:30-7:45pm at Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman
    Ave., Madison, WI, 53704, 246-4547

    Thursday, November 13, 12:00-1:00pm at Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman
    Ave., Madison, WI, 53704, 246-4547

    Tuesday, November 25, 7:00-8:00pm at Pinney Library, 204 Cottage Grove
    Rd., Madison, WI, 53716, 224-7100

    *Click here to borrow Book Discussion Kits from MPL

    Madison Public Library has bought over 100 copies of I am Malala to lend
    to private book groups. Kits are lent on a first come, first served
    basis– no holds or reserves allowed. While all kit copies are out as of
    this blog post, experience shows we’ll have many copies to lend again in
    the late fall- typically mid-November. To borrow a kit you’ll need a
    valid library card from one of the libraries in the South Central
    Library System (which includes Madison Public Library.) Call 266-6300
    for more information. You may borrow as many copies as your group needs
    and choose your due date (within reason!) The discussion guide included
    with the kit contains reviews, additional background information on
    Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai and discussion questions.

    Written by: Liz Amundson, Madison Public Library Reference Librarian

    Malala nominated for 2014 World Children’s Prize

    Malala has been nominated for the 2014 World Children’s Prize. The organization shared a video of Malala’s friends and other schoolgirls from across Pakistan explaining what Malala’s campaign for girls’ education means to them.

    The World Children’s Prize is an organization that contributes “toward a more human world in support of the rights of the child; it is the world’s largest annual educational program teaching young people about the rights of the child, democracy, and global friendship.”

    Three candidates are nominated each year by children around the world, and then the children vote for the winner. Candidates are chosen for being child rights heroes, and all three receive money to further their work with children.

    The organization is unique in that it is focused on the children’s experience. Twice a year there are World Children’s Prize press conferences where children present and answer questions from reports about their stories. The only rule of the press conferences is that adults are there only to listen, not talk! (Quite the opposite of the usual child/adult interaction) The organization has a very information website that can be viewed here: Website and they also have a blog that shares the stories of children from across the world: Blog

    Suggest a Question for Shiza Shahid

    Would you like to ask this year’s Go Big Read keynote speaker a question about the Malala Fund, her friendship with Malala, etc.?

    Shiza Shahid’s October 27th lecture at Varsity Hall, Union South, is free and open to the public. The event will begin at 7 pm (doors open at 6 pm) and no tickets are required. We hope you’ll attend and invite anyone you know who might be interested.

    Due to the large scale of the Varsity Hall event, some of the question and answer period will be moderated. Questions should be suggested in writing by October 17th. The moderator will select a representative set of questions and ask them to Shiza at the event.

    If you would like to suggest a question, please post it as a comment to this blog post. Please also consider including your name and some very brief information about yourself (e.g., your major, unit, etc.).

    * Please note that blog comments are moderated so there may be a delay of up to 24 hours between submitting your question and seeing it appear on the blog.

    First Lady Michelle Obama Calls on World Leaders to Match Courage of Malala

    The First Lady, Michelle Obama, gave a moving keynote address at the third annual Global Education First Initiative event. Michelle’s speech focused on providing quality education for all girls across the world. Obama challenged world leaders to match the courage and commitment of girls who are fighting for their right to education.

    I’m thinking about girls like Malala. I’m thinking about those brave girls in Nigeria. I’m thinking about all the girls who will never make the headlines who walk hours to school each day, who study late into the night because they are so hungry to fill every last bit of their God given potential.

    Universal education is a Millennium Development Goal that the United Nations had committed to achieving by next year, but as the year ticks away it is unlikely to achieve the goal. Michelle stressed that quality education for every child and the empowerment of women and girls needs to be on the post-2015 deadline agenda. The speech ended with her again calling world leaders to action by reminding leaders of the girls who are sacrificing so much just for the chance to get an education.

    If we can show just a tiny fraction of their courage and their commitment, then I know we can give all of our girls an education worthy of their promise.

    To read a news story on the speech, click here.
    To read a transcript of the speech, click here
    Lastly, to watch part of the speech, click on this link: Video of part of Michelle Obama’s speech

    Malala Yousafzai Featured in Windows For Peace Project

    A museum staff member in front of Malala’s Peace Window

    The Peace Museum in Vienna Austria has teamed up with local business to open a new exhibit, the Windows for Peace Project. The project uses windows in the Museum as well as local businesses in downtown Vienna to feature influential figures throughout history that have devoted their lives and careers to peace.

    The project has chosen over 150 “peace heroes”, including Malala Yousafzai. The project opened this June, and will continue to expand over the next two years. The Vienna Peace Museum hopes that people who stop and look at the windows will be inspired to integrate peace into their daily lives. The Museum and window sponsors are aspiring to “change the world into a better, more peaceful place, one window at a time.”

    If you’d like to know more about the project you can visit their site here

    Peace Heroes are exhibited in downtown Vienna

    The Impact of Education in a Developing Country: My Experience in Namibia

    Primary students in the computer lab

    The Malala Fund works with local partners in developing countries to ensure education for all children. Currently Malala has projects in Pakistan, Jordan, Nigeria, and Kenya. However, there are still 66 million girls out of school around the world. The governments of many developing countries are working on enrolling and retaining all children into the school system, and this summer I was able to witness an education system in the midst of this battle.

    In July, I took the opportunity to study abroad in Namibia with the University of Maryland’s iSchool. The trip enabled me to see first hand the impact a successful education and library system can have on a developing country. Namibia, located in Southern Sub-Saharan Africa, is a developing country that achieved independence in 1990. Before independence, the country was a part of South Africa and endured the oppressive and damaging policies of Apartheid. The post-apartheid government immediately began to address the inequalities the country faced, including the education system.

    A student answering a question

    Namibia has been striving to reach all 8 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals since the 2000 Millennium Summit. Goal two is to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015. Namibia believed that education was the cornerstone to reaching many of the other Millennium goals. While I was in the capital city I was able to visit and talk with members of the Ministry of Education, as well as visit multiple primary schools in varying economic areas of Windhoek. Girls and boys were mixed in the classrooms at all ages.

    The country successfully increased the number of girls that finished schooling by addressing the issue of teen pregnancy, and fighting the social norm of girls remaining home to help with housework. The country also faced a problem with children in rural areas since they had to travel far distances to reach a school. This was a deterrent to attendance and retaining students, especially since many students had to be boarded by a relative or family friend. To combat the disparities between rural and urban regions, the country increased access in rural areas by training more teachers and building more facilities. As a result, in 2013 almost all children were enrolled in primary school and the country is on target to achieve 100 percent literacy rate among youth.1

    Designing bookmarks in the Oshana Regional Center

    Namibia also addressed the lack of access in rural areas by partnering with IREX and the Millenium Challenge Account to build Regional Study and Resource Centers. The centers provide residents with access to library and information services, which is critical to improving the lives of Namibian citizens and enabling them to access information on agriculture, health, economics, finance, workforce development, and education.2

    Programming for Secondary students

    During my trip I was able to collaborate with staff to design and implement programming for primary and secondary school students. Our group held programs at the Ohangwena Regional Study and Resource Center and the Oshana Regional Study and Resource Center. We designed programming for young learners in kindergarten through 3rd grade that focused on library resources. We also designed programming for 12th grade students on how to apply to jobs and colleges, and on interview skills.

    Overall, the trip to Namibia opened up my eyes to how important education is in a developing country and truly helped me place Malala’s story in context. Malala almost lost her life in her fight for education, and she has now committed her life to helping other children in developing countries achieve their potential and receive an education. The bright minds of the children I met and worked with in Namibia proved to me just how important it is to continue supporting countries and organizations, such as the Malala Fund, that are working to provide resources and an education for all children.

    A group of talented 12th grade secondary students who are a part of the education revolution in Namibia

    1. Namibia’s Vision 30 Document
    2. Irex’s Regional Library development

    It’s what WE do.

    The Center for First Year Experience released a video this week featuring young and bright minded students enjoying the experience of attending the University of Wisconsin.

    Students are offered resources from University Housing, Recreational Sports, Wisconsin Athletics, UW-Madison Police Department, Wisconsin Union, and our own Go Big Read Program.

    All of these resources help students have the best Wisconsin Experience possible!

    Comment below to share what you think of the video.


    UW-Madison News reports on use of Go Big Read book on campus

    Malala speaking to the United Nations in the Summer of 2013

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison News site released an article this morning entitled, “Campus community reading ‘I Am Malala’ as semester begins.”

    The article discusses why Chancellor Becky Blank chose the book from a list of possible books with a theme on service. The Chancellor told the 5,500+ incoming freshmen and transfer students at convocation that “Malala’s story is about the value of doing something – anything, even when it’s scary and even when you’re not sure it’s the exact right solution -rather than sitting around feeling hopeless.”

    The article also talks to members of the campus community that have chosen to use the book this fall. Over 35+ courses have decided to use the book in their course material. Disciplines range from anthropology, English, enviornmental studies, nursing, political science, and education.

    A group new to the Go Big Read program is the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions. The group was established to promote mutual understanding and civility among Jews, Christians, and Muslim after tensions arose following 9/11. To learn more about the different courses and groups participating in Go Big Read this year read the entire article by following this link: Campus community reading ‘I Am Malala’ as semester begins

    UW-Madison Women & Leadership Book Discussion

    October 15, 2014
    March 11, 2015
    4:00-5:30 pm Union South
    I Am Malala
    Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

    Book discussion led by the UW Women Deans

    “When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At seventeen, she has come a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I Am Malala is her remarkable story.”

    To register for one of these events, please visit:

    October 15, 2014 Book discussion: 

    March 11, 2015 Book Discussion:

    **UW-Madison Women & Leadership events are generously supported by the UW Foundation Women’s Philanthropy Council**

    Other partners include:
    UW-Madison  Committee on Women in the University
    UW-Madison Office of Human Resource Development
    UW Women Deans
    Questions: Contact Carrie Jensen,, 265-8982