BMI Presents: Wole Soyinka, Azar Nafisi & Masha Gessen


Sep. 11, 2014, 7pm to 8:30pm

Campus Location

Office/Remote Location

Philip J. Cohen Theatre


Blood, Sweat & Tears Life on the Front Lines of the Human Rights Struggle in Russia, Nigeria, and Iran featuring: Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate; Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran," and Masha Gessen, Russian journalist and LGBT activist.

An empowered Iran crushes dissent at home while fueling insurgency abroad. The vicious fundamentalism of Boko Haram terrorizes Nigeria and shocks the world. Russia slides inexorably back into authoritarianism and aggression. The new century finds the human rights struggle flaring along old battle lines, confronting challenges both ancient and modern.

Black Mountain Institute is proud to bring together three remarkable veterans of these conflicts. Wole Soyinka is one of the world’s most celebrated writers and the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. An outspoken critic of authoritarian regimes, Soyinka was jailed during his country’s civil war, an experience recounted in his memoir "The Man Died." Following the Iranian Revolution, Azar Nafisi was barred from teaching for refusing to don the Islamic veil. In secret, she organized a course on banned books for a group of young Muslim women, a story she tells in her best-selling memoir "Reading
Lolita in Tehran." As Russia looks more and more like the old Soviet Union, Masha Gessen has charted the descent, from her groundbreaking biography of Vladimir Putin, "The Man Without a Face," to her coverage of the punk rock protest band Pussy Riot. In recent years, she has emerged as one of Russia’s most prominent LGBT advocates.

Moderated by UNLV Professor of History Michelle Tusan, a human rights scholar and author of "Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide and the Birth of the Middle East."

Admission Information

All BMI events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Contact Information

Black Mountain Institute
Maritza White

External Sponsor

Generous support for Black Mountain Institute's public programming is provided by the Caesar's Foundation, Nevada Public Radio, and Vegas Seven.