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Actor Kal Penn to speak at SU Nov. 15 for Syracuse Asian Awareness Week

October 27, 2008

Helen Koutsourades
(845) 494-0623

Helen Koutsourades

Best known for his role as Kumar in the film "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," actor Kal Penn will speak at Syracuse University on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center as part of Syracuse Asian Awareness Week at SU.

Tickets-$3 for SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students, faculty and staff with valid I.D., and $5 for the general public-are available at the Schine Box Office (443-4517).

The event is sponsored by University Union, Kappa Phi Lambda, The College of Arts and Sciences' Transnational Asian Studies and South Asian Studies programs, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the South Asian Student Association.

Penn will speak about the prejudices and tensions created by racial stereotypes of Asian Americans. He will discuss topics affecting the political landscape and Hollywood's role in confronting and changing racial discrimination. A Q&A session will follow.

"As an Indian-American actor, Kal Penn can give a different view on race in the entertainment industry," says Nathan Muller, co-director of performing arts within University Union. "His popularity among students makes him a great addition to Asian week. University Union is proud to have such an educated and admired performer speak to the Syracuse University community."

Penn is part of an actor's movement that is educating the public about racial and ethnic stereotypes. During spring 2008, Penn was an adjunct faculty member in the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching the course "Images of Asian Americans in the Media" and a seminar titled "Contemporary American Teen Films."

In 2002, Penn gained popularity with his role of Taj Mahal Badalandabad in "Van Wilder." Then, in 2004, he co-starred in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle." In 2006, Penn starred in the film "The Namesake." According to New York Magazine, Penn is "the world's most famous America-Indian actor." Since his big-screen success, Penn has made appearances on the television series "24," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "House," and starred in the movie sequel "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay."

For more information, contact Helen Koutsourades, public relations chair for University Union, at (845) 494-0623 or

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