[OYAN] Possible program opportunity for teens

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Thu Mar 14 14:01:59 PDT 2013

I just received the following promotional email about resources for implementing a social studies book club type of three week program for teens.  I thought some of you may be interested.  This is not an endorsement.  Please remember to review this resource according to your library's policies to make sure they are appropriate for your library and community.

Questions? Contact:

Harry Adler


harry at childrenscultureconnection.org<mailto:harry at childrenscultureconnection.org>

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

From: Harry Adler [mailto:hadler2010 at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:33 AM
To: Katie Anderson
Subject: Library project from Children's Culture Connection - a non-profit

Children's Culture Connection presents:

Afghanistan- Hearts & Minds Adventures

An exclusive, three-week "book club" for public library programming,

featuring a condensed and interactive version of CCC's complete 10-unit

Afghanistan-Hearts & Minds curriculum.

Contact Information:

Harry Adler 612-281-5901 harry at childrenscultureconnection.org<mailto:harry at childrenscultureconnection.org>


There is no charge given this is a pilot project for libraries.

Objectives: Using the public library system as a vehicle, to take American middle school students on an interactive, cross-cultural, "living social studies adventure" in Afghanistan that helps them:

*         Walk in someone else's shoes while more closely examining their own unique cultural values.

*         Understand the complexities of inter-cultural interactions; whether in their classroom, neighborhood, state, country, or world.

*         Engage in discussion of what is one's ethical and/or moral responsibility toward addressing the needs of others.

Program Features:

*         Convenient, digital format.

*         A complete three session lesson plan that can be stretched to more days given library's programming time and the availability of students.

*         Lesson plans including multi-sensory learning activities (i.e. story entries, articles, videos, and experiential learning activities).

*         Use of online forum for discussions with other participants and/or panelists

*         Target audience are students in grade 6 and above (size of group can vary but should be of a manageable size)

Library provides a teacher/facilitator to conduct the three or more sessions.


Running from April 29 to May 24, 2013


Program Description:

Students read the chronicles of CCC director Dina Fesler's adventures in Afghanistan. Written over the course of three years while developing the Hearts & Minds curriculum, this "story behind the story" takes readers into a world where most foreigners, NGOs, military-or even most Afghans-- have never gone before. Through her spellbinding-and somewhat madcap-- tales, readers are introduced to a group of teenage refugees living in the epicenter of the war. They offer an intimate view of this isolated and mysterious part of the world, and a unique perspective on their realities and challenges. Daily chapters are accompanied by photos, videos, experiential learning activities, and thought-provoking discussions to help students examine these challenging world issues from a new point of view.

Online Forum:

The program is designed to not only spark discussion on how we as Americans can better understand the values, beliefs, motivations, and actions of Afghans, but to provide a perspective that helps us better understand our own values, beliefs, and actions as well. With libraries in up to 20 states participating, students post highlights of their discussions on the online forum, exchanging thoughts, ideas, observations, and insights from within their own communities. Using the backdrop of Afghanistan as a catalyst for discussion, students will learn to develop a deeper understanding of their own unique cultural values and actions in order to see others more clearly, and, thus, begin to more effectively engage with them... whether they are across the world or across town.

Students may also have the rare opportunity to communicate with and learn from the following diverse panel via the online forum:

*         Najibullah Sedeqe; Surgeon with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) during the Afghan Civil War (1993-1998), ICU supervisor at Kabul surgical hospital during Taliban era (1998-2000), administrator of Emergency Surgical Center in Kabul (2000-2003).

*         Emal Yaqubi; Deputy director Deputy Chief of Party/Senior Communication, Reporting and Knowledge Management Officer for Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) Implemented by University of Research Co. Ltd (URC) and funded by USAID.

*         Abuzar Royesh; Student at Tufts University, Boston, former Director of English Department at Marefat High School.

*         Aziz Royesh; Founder, teacher, member Board of Trustees & Civic Education at Marefat High School; Yale World Fellow 2010.

An overview of CCC's Afghanistan-Hearts & Minds program is available at

www.vimeo.com/46754235<http://www.vimeo.com/46754235>. Password: heartsandminds

Excerpts from Dina's story:

All my life I have been called crazy for one reason or another, so in late 2009 when I was preparing to go to Afghanistan, it came as no surprise that everyone said "Afghanistan? Are you crazy?"

I assumed it was just another rhetorical question, and didn't pay much attention.


The IDP camp seemed different from my first visit in the winter of 2009. Now there were about twice as many mud houses crammed into the ten-acre space, and the sweltering August heat had baked them all into cracking mounds of dirt. The shivering, sick children who we had taken to Kabul hospitals that winter now ran barefoot alongside our vehicle, peering in the windows to see who was coming; curious because the outside world no longer came here to try to help.


Due to the lack of jobs, teenage boys are now steadily recruited to return to Helmand as day laborers harvesting poppies, and many have become addicted to opium. Women's rights are non-existent. Generations of illiteracy and isolation in Helmand, anti-Western sentiment from the war, brainwashing from the Taliban, the hardships of displacement, and the trauma of non-stop violence have developed into an explosive combination. This camp is now one of the many breeding grounds for extremist ideology and anti-American brainwashing. It is a malignant cancer growing at an alarming rate.

It's 2011. Ten years since the beginning of the War on Terror.


But an interesting surprise was revealed when these boys--who had caught a glimpse of the outside world--decided that they were tired of being illiterate and having their lives in the hands of others who now knew less than they did. They told me they didn't want to harvest poppies like their older brothers and friends, they didn't want to get hooked on opium, and they didn't want to be another generation living in an IDP camp.


This was one of those moments in life where we all had to stop, pause, and ask ourselves the hard questions. Would the potential benefits outweigh the risks? Would interfering in another culture in this way cause more harm than good? There was no question it would be dangerous, but the boys believed they had nothing to lose. I had to agree that they were already living in the middle of the worst-case scenario on earth.

Harry Adler
harry at childrenscultureconnection.org<mailto:harry at childrenscultureconnection.org>
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