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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Faculty News April 2013

Professor of Archaeology Kathryn Bard has recently been invited to become a corresponding member of the Advisory Committee of Shanghai Archaeology Forum being launched under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The Committee consists of top scholars in archaeology and cultural heritage from all regions of the world.

Professor of History Louis Ferleger and economics graduate student Jacob Magid wrote an article that appeared on exploring the ongoing jobs and economic crisis in so-called distressed areas—metropolitan and micropolitan areas that have seen unemployment levels at least two percent above the national average for at least five years. Read the article.

Steven T. Katz, Slater Professor of Jewish and Holocaust Studies (Religion Department) and Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies was recently invited to lecture in several European countries primarily in his role as Academic Advisor to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a union of 31 countries that encourages Holocaust education, research and remembrance. In December 2012 Prof. Katz was in Liege, Belgium at the Plenary meeting of the IHRA. In January he was invited by the Spanish government to participate in the annual Holocaust Memorial ceremony in Madrid at the Parliament building (view photo). He was invited to light one of the six candles on the occasion of the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz and to give a lecture. He also met with senior officials of the ministries of education and justice. Following that, he went to Dublin at the invitation of the Irish government and spoke at their Holocaust memorial event in the Mayor’s Palace in Dublin (view photo). He met with the Minister of Education and Justice and lectured at Trinity College and at the Irish-Jewish Historical Museum. He then went onto London for discussions with British officials and gave a lecture at the Wiener Library. In March, as a guest of the Greek government and the Thessaloniki Jewish community, he spoke at the official commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews from Thessaloniki and met with the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras (view photo) and the Mayor of Thessaloniki about creating Holocaust educational programs. In April, as a guest of the Hungarian government, he will be meeting with government officials in Budapest about Holocaust matters and recent antisemitic political activity. After that, as a guest of the Polish government, he will attend the “pre-opening” of the new Jewish Museum in Warsaw, meet with government officials on matters of mutual concern, and lecture in Warsaw at the Jewish Historical Association and in several venues in Krakow.

An exhibit based on the work of Professor of Biology Richard Primack will be on display at the Concord Museum through September 15. The exhibit explores Primack’s work using the thorough seasonal observations of Thoreau to demonstrate that higher mean temperatures cause spring flowers to bloom sooner in a predictable pattern. The exhibit is titled “Early Spring: Henry Thoreau and Climate Change.” Primack, along with Concord Museum Curator David F. Wood, gave a talk on this topic on April 13 at the museum, located at 53 Cambridge Turnpike in Concord. Read a recent New York Times article on Primack’s work.

Professor of Archaeology Curtis Runnels has been awarded a Cotsen Fellowship in Archaeology at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico for June-July to work on the following topic: “The Early Palaeolithic in the Aegean Islands.”

Assistant Professor of Astronomy Andrew West has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER awards are the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.