Q. I think this book would be an extremely valuable adjunct to teaching young people about the history of this era in Cambodia----have you thought about putting together a teaching guide for classroom questions? Visiting schools and giving talks to young people about your inspiring story? I can imagine this might be personally difficult but so incredibly powerful a message coming from you.....
Vaddey Ratner: I’m very hopeful, Christy, that the novel will indeed reach many young people who know very little if anything about this history. I’m so pleased that Georgetown University and Kalamazoo College have recently adopted "In the Shadow of the Banyan" as common reading for their full incoming classes this year – I’ll be visiting both in a few months time. I’ve done visits as well to high schools in Washington, DC and Baltimore, and recently learned that a school district in Washington State has adopted the novel for its high school curriculum.
I hope it's a pattern, and that other schools, colleges and universities will adopt the novel in the curriculum as well. I believe in each case the suggestion begins with a motivated reader like you.
A class on international human rights at McMaster University in Toronto asked me to speak on the theme of human rights, violent conflict, and conflict prevention. Others have asked me to speak on the refugee experience, narrative, memory, the importance of girls’ education… I’ve found that the novel provides so many possibilities.
I don't arrange events myself, so if anyone is interested in proposing events, please contact the S&S Speakers Bureau: http://www.vaddeyratner.com/contact/