FORA Culture

Season 2007 Episode 0918

Classroom Tales from the Other Iraq

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Classroom Tales from the Other Iraq
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Ian Klaus delivers Elvis is Titanic: Classroom Tales from the Other Iraq.In the spring of 2005, Ian Klaus, a twenty-six-year-old Rhodes Scholar, traveled eight hours from Turkey, via broken-down taxi and armed convoy, to reach Salahaddin University in Arbil, the largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan. ELVIS IS TITANIC is the poignant, funny, and uplifting story of the semester he spent there teaching US history and English in the thick of the war for hearts and minds.Inspired by the volunteerism of so many young Americans after 9/11, Klaus exchanges the abstraction of duty for an intimate involvement with individual lives. Among the Kurds, a perennially oppressed but seemingly indomitable people, he encounters both openhearted welcome and resentful suspicion -- and soon learns firsthand how far trust can go. With assignments ranging from Elvis to Ellington, from the mysteries of baseball to de Tocqueville, from Michael Jackson to Thomas Friedman, Klaus strives to illuminate the American way for students initially far more attuned to our pop culture than our national ideals. These efforts -- recounted in unforgettable vignettes full of hope and discovery -- also occasion his own reexamination of truths we hold to be self-evident, as well as the less exalted cultural assumptions we have presumed to export to the rest of the world - Cody's Booksmoreless
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