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Best-selling author Khaled Hosseini to kick off dynamic 2009-10 University Lectures season

September 29, 2009

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Khaled Hosseini, author of best-selling novels “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and a human rights activist, will be the first guest in the dynamic 2009-10 season of the University Lectures series at Syracuse University on Monday, Oct. 5.

Hosseini will be interviewed by Firoozeh Dumas, author of “Funny in Farsi” and “Laughing without an Accent,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the University’s Hendricks Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. Reduced-rate parking is available in the Irving Garage. The SU Bookstore will have books available for purchase in the Hendricks Chapel narthex. Sign language interpreters and real-time captioning (CART) will be provided for all of the 2009-10 University Lectures.

The lecture is sponsored in cooperation with the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series, which will host Hosseini on Oct. 6. Hosseini will also speak with students at a local high school during his time in Syracuse.

HosseiniHosseini was born in Afghanistan in 1965. The oldest of five children, he grew up in Kabul, where his father worked for the Afghan foreign ministry and his mother was a teacher. The family moved to Paris in 1976, where Hosseini’s father was assigned a diplomatic post in the Afghan embassy.

While the Hosseini family was still in France, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, prompting Hosseini’s father to obtain political asylum in the United States. They moved to the U.S. in the fall of 1980. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and was accepted to Santa Clara University, where he majored in biology. In 1989, he was accepted to the UC-San Diego School of Medicine and graduated in 1993 with a medical degree. He entered medical practice as an internist in 1996. In 2003, Hosseini’s first novel, “The Kite Runner,” was published by Riverhead Books. The same house published his second novel, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” in 2007. Both novels became bestsellers.

In 2006, Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy for the UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, to help raise awareness about refugees around the world. He has traveled with UNHCR to eastern Chad to visit refugees from the Darfur conflict, and in September 2007 to his native Afghanistan to visit returning refugees in northern Afghanistan. Hosseini put his medical career on hold in December of 2004 and now divides his time among writing, working with the United Nations and spending time with his wife and two children. He recently established the Khaled Hosseini Foundation (, to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Hosseini is donating his speaker fee for the University Lectures presentation to the foundation.

DumasDumas was born in Iran and moved to Southern California with her family in the 1970s. She later graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and married a Frenchman. She grew up listening to her father, a former Fulbright Scholar, recount the many stories of his life in Iran and America. Her memoir, “Funny in Farsi” (Random House, 2004) was on the San Francisco and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists, a finalist for the PEN/USA Award and a finalist for the Audie Award for best audio book. For the past five years, she has traveled the country, using humor to remind audiences that our commonalities far outweigh our differences. Her latest memoir, “Laughing Without an Accent” (Random House), was published in 2008.

Now in its ninth season, University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s Trustees, alumni and friends. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Lecturers for the 2009-10 season include John Hendricks, CEO of Discovery Communications (Oct. 20); Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (Nov. 3); Ira Glass, host of Chicago Public Radio’s ‘This American Life” (Nov. 17); sustainability expert Alex Steffen (March 2); Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition (March 9) and Nobel Laureate and poet Seamus Heaney (April 13).

The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. To recommend a speaker, or for additional information about University Lectures, please contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 443-2941 or

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