Ishmael Beah introduces A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier.
You will never forget Ishmael Beah and his heart-breaking, gripping story of a child's journey through hell. There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Beah used to be one of them. He is the first to tell his story in his own words. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does he become a killer? How does he stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have imagined their lives. Until now, there hasn't been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived to tell the tale. In A LONG WAY GONE, Beah relates fleeing attacking rebels, wandering a land rendered unrecognizable by violence, being picked up by the government army, and finding that he was capable of truly terrible acts. After three years as a soldier, a truck pulled into the army base and Ishmael and other young soldiers were released by their commander to UNICEF workers. Sent to a rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to convince the world of civilians who viewed him with fear and suspicion. It is, at last, a story of redemption. Beah, now 25, came to the US when he was seventeen, and graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is a member of Human Rights Watch Children's Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations on several occasions. He lives in New York City- Cody's Books
Ishmael Beah, best-selling author and human rights spokesperson, was appointed UNICEF's first Advocate for Children Affected by War in 2007. "For me it's just a way to give me more strength to continue doing what I've already embarked on, what I've dedicated my life to doing -- which is to make sure that what happened to me doesnâ€™t continue to happen to other children around the world," he said.
In 1991, the outbreak of a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone upended the lives of millions. Eleven year-old Ishmael Beah's parents and two brothers were killed. He was forcibly recruited into the war at age 13. After two years, with UNICEF help, he was removed from the army and placed in a rehabilitation home in Freetown.
Mr. Beah continues his advocacy to help change the course for the thousands of children still trapped in wars. In 2008, he co-founded the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW) with a mission to raise awareness of the plight of children in conflict zones, advocate for an end to hostilities and provide role models for children who are currently struggling to recover from war.
Ishmael Beah's book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, was published in the United States in 2007. It has since been published in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia and appears in over 35 languages.
Patricia de Jong
Patricia de Jong has been Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (FCCB) since 1994. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Pacific School of Religion. Before coming to Berkeley she served as Minister of Education for Christian Discipleship at The Riverside Church in New York City (1984-88) and as Senior Minister of the Urbandale United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa (1988-94).
Pat de Jong's special interests include reading, old movies, Native American art, international travel, theater and the arts. She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry Program at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, Minnesota.
Glen Galaich has joined The Philanthropy Workshop
West as the associate director, alumni relations.
Prior to joining TPW, Glen was the Northern California Director for Human Rights Watch and Deputy Director for the Global Philanthropy Forum. Glen holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of
Colorado at Boulder in political science and a B.A. in political science from the University of California, San Diego.
Priscilla Hayner, a co-founder of the ICTJ, is an expert on truth commissions around the world and has written widely on the subject of official truth-seeking in political transitions. She is the author of Unspeakable Truths (2001), which explores the work of more than 20 truth commissions worldwide. Prior to joining the ICTJ, she was a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other organizations.
Ms. Hayner was previously a program officer on international human rights and world security for the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation in New York. She holds degrees from Earlham College and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.