Friday, June 18, 2010

Rukhsana Kahn's Speech

Rukhsana Khan (pronounced ruk-SA-na kon) is a Canadian award-winning writer and storyteller. She visits over eighty schools a year in the United States and in Canada, and as stated on her website, her presentations "go from light-hearted fun for primary children to serious issues like teen suicide, loss and abandonment and child refugees." She is the author of Silly Chicken(Viking Juvenile, 2005), Big Red Lollipop (Viking Juvenile, 2010) and Wanting Mor (Groundwood Books, 2009), a story about an orphaned teenage girl abandoned in a marketplace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In September 2008, Rukhsana Khan gave a speech at the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) World Congress in Denmark, in which she explores the theme of integration, the reasons behind the need for cultural diversity, the challenges awaiting authors writing outside their culture and those eager to represent theirs... The speech is titled:

FREEDOM OF SPEECH VERSUS CULTURAL SENSITIVITY
Balancing the Right to Create Freely vs. the Need of People to be Respected 

Here is an extract:

"Imagine how dull the world would be if we all looked the same, ate the same food
and dressed the same way!

I believe that just as biodiversity allows species to take advantage of evolutionary
niches, diversity of cultures explores all the societal permutations possible and helps mankind to progress.

Societies are in a constant state of flux. Members move between communities
and with this comes the cross pollination of ideas. Over time cultural norms must change and adapt as a result of this.

All this cultural exchange is very healthy. It prevents stagnation. It challenges a
culture’s status quo and allows for the vetting of long held assumptions. Ultimately only the best and fittest concepts will survive to further contribute toward the progress of mankind."


The entire speech is available on Rukhsana's website. I found it utterly honest and thought provoking. I hope you read it, too.

Disclosure: This was first posted on the blog Multiculturalism Rocks!

5 comments:

Jeannine said...

Oh I love her. Red Lollipop is a fabulous book. Great speech!!

Aths said...

Beautiful speech!

Aarti said...

I'm reading Wanting Mor right now for Nerds Heart YA! Great speech :-)

名青 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nathaliemvondo said...

I am on the waiting list at my library for wanting more. I can't wait to read it, too!