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Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Dr. Ezzeldin Abuelaish to Speak at Queens College's 86th Commencement

--Ceremony Also Honors Amitav Ghosh, India’s Best-Known Writer, and a Vietnamese American Student Who Shares Top Awards With Her Twin--

WHAT: The 86th Commencement of Queens College of the City University of New York
WHO: Over 2,200 degree candidates expected to attend, including students
from the classes of September 2009, February and May 2010, and
prospective September 2010 graduates. Total audience, including
graduates, will number more than 10,000.
DATE: Thursday, May 27, 2010, rain or shine
TIME: 9 am
PLACE: Campus Quadrangle, Queens College
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, New York

MEDIA SIGN-IN tent will be to the right of the stage. Media seats will be clearly marked on right-hand side, near the front. MEDIA PARKING IS AVAILABLE: You must enter the campus at Melbourne Avenue and 150th Street (the Kissena Boulevard gate will be closed). Please bring press ID and arrive no later than 8:15 am—8 am is preferable—to receive on-campus parking.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian physician committed to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians,
will address the graduates. Three of his daughters were killed during the Gaza tragedy of January 2009; to honor their memory, Dr. Abuelaish—who had trained and worked in Israeli hospitals—has created Daughters for Life, a foundation dedicated to providing education and health services for women and girls in Gaza and the Middle East. Dr. Abuelaish, who received his master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard University, is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Canada. He remains committed to the peace effort and was a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. The evening before commencement, on May 26 at 6:30 pm in LeFrak Concert Hall, Dr. Abuelaish will be honored with one of the first-ever Uncommon Courage Awards by the college’s Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding, a U.S. Department of Education-funded program dedicated to fostering cross-cultural understanding on campus and in the community.

Dr. Amitav Ghosh, former Queens College Distinguished Professor of comparative literature and one of India’s best-known writers, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Born in Calcutta, he earned a doctorate at Oxford. His first novel, The Circle of Reason, was published in 1986. His most recent work, Sea of Poppies, is the first volume of the Ibis Trilogy.

Ghosh has been recognized with the Prix Medicis Etranger, one of France’s top literary awards; the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Grinzane Cavour Prize in Turin, Italy. He has written for many publications, including the Hindu, The New Yorker and Granta, and has served on the juries of several international film festivals, including Locarno and Venice. As a professor, he taught at universities in India and the United States, including Delhi University, Columbia, The City University of New York and Harvard. He is currently working on the next volume of the Ibis Trilogy.

       Senator Charles E. Schumer
will bring greetings to the graduates.

The student commencement speaker is Sharon N. Tran.
Tran’s outstanding academic achievements are mirrored, appropriately, by her twin sister Frances, who is also graduating on May 27. Both girls, who are of Vietnamese heritage, will graduate summa cum laude as English majors and share the Robert A. Greenberg Memorial Prize; each is also winning an additional award in English. Both also minored in Chinese. Their parallel accomplishments extend to their post-graduate plans as well—each had to weigh full-scholarship offers for English PhD programs at prestigious universities. (Sharon chose UCLA and Frances picked the CUNY Graduate Center.) And each recently had a paper accepted by the National Conference on Undergraduate Research—for the second year in a row. The papers reflect their shared interest in how contemporary Asian-American authors deal with the changing meanings of kinship, identity, and nationality in a rapidly globalizing world.


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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