The ongoing debate over human rights issues related to Guantanamo Bay detainees is the focus of lawyer and civil rights advocate Mahvish Khan’s speech at 7:30 p.m. November 18 in John Gano Memorial Chapel on the William Jewell College campus in Liberty, Mo. The public is invited to attend the free event, which is the 2009 Peggy Kern Lecture on Women and Society, part of the college's "Perspectives on the Common Good" lecture series.
Khan is an American lawyer born to immigrant Pashtun parents. While attending the University of Miami, she became enraged by the illegal detainment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. With her fluency in Pashto and a familiarity with Afghan cultures and customs, she was quickly appointed an interpreter for Afghan detainees. Six months later, in January 2006, she visited Guantanamo Bay. Soon, she began providing supervised legal counsel and traveled to Afghanistan to find exonerating evidence for prisoners. Her more than 30 trips to the prison in Cuba influenced her book My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me.
The Peggy Kern Lecture on Women and Society is named in memory of the mother of Jewell alumna Penny Kern White of the William Jewell Class of 1968. This annual lecture honors Mrs. Peggy Kern, who lived through the Great Depression, sent a husband and son to war, developed and ran a successful business, served as an active community volunteer, and was a longstanding member of the First Baptist Church of Independence.
"Mrs. Kern valued education," said Dr. Chad Jolly, vice president for advancement at the college. "The lecture established in her memory is committed to addressing contemporary topics and subjects that encourage the betterment of society and women in particular, and is designed to foster greater awareness of issues that influence women's lives. The annual lecture celebrates Mrs. Kern's life and is a living memorial of her commitment to helping others."
William Jewell College is committed to bringing together talented students and gifted faculty mentors within a vibrant community sparked by a rigorous and intentional liberal arts curriculum. A full range of personal and professional development experiences are presented by the selective national liberal arts college's location within the Kansas City metroplex of more than 2 million.