PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College’s Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation and Center for Veteran and Military Affairs have begun to mobilize a $100,000 grant awarded from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to launch programs that will support the community at-large.
An open-ended discussion series on military literature – “No Man’s Land: Dialogues on the Experience of War” – will launch Thursday, April 4 at 6 p.m. in room C-325 at the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road in Paramus. Future sessions will take place Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 19 at the same time and place.
Additionally, and in collaboration with the “No Man’s Land” series, the College’s Literary Arts Series program will host award-winning writer and U.S. military veteran Phil Klay for a discussion and book signing Thursday, March 28 at 1:45 p.m. in the Moses Family Meeting & Training Center (TEC-128) at Bergen’s main campus. He will also participate in an author discussion and question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. in the same room.
The programs reflect the College’s prioritization of providing support for U.S. military veterans by encouraging the community to study the issues raised by war and military service. Thomas LaPointe, co-director of the “No Man’s Land” project and associate professor of composition and literature, said, “Examining and exploring the experience of war also offers an extraordinary opportunity to engage in discussions about the impact of trauma in our local Bergen community – and globally.”
The “No Man’s Land” series will feature a work of military literature during each of its dialogue sessions: Phil Klay’s “Redeployment” April 4, Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” April 11, and “How to Tell a True War Story,” from Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” April 19. Student and non-student veterans, their families and interested members of the community can attend the discussions to discuss the works and share their own experiences.
Meanwhile, Klay, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and New York Times best-selling author who also won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014, will read from “Redeployment” and accept questions from audience members after his keynote address. Klay, a 2018 Hunt Prize winner for outstanding work in Cultural and Historical Criticism, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005 and served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a public affairs officer. To learn more about the Bergen Literary Arts Series and Phil Klay, visit www.literaryartsseries.org/ and www.philklay.com/.
The events, made possible by the NEH grant, are sponsored by Bergen’s Literary Arts Series, the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation, and the Center for Veteran and Military Affairs. NEH offers the “Dialogues on the Experience of War” program as part of its current initiative “Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War.” Established in 2015, the highly competitive national grant has been awarded to an average of 15 organizations per year.
There are approximately 150 self-identified student veterans enrolled at Bergen and more than 31,000 veterans who live in Bergen County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2013, the College opened its Veterans and Military Affairs Center at the main campus. Through the center, the College offers veteran-specific counselors and advisers, and information on benefits, events and resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
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