Kenya, Malaysia, Panama, Thailand
By JoAnna Haugen on Monday, January 4th, 2010
Kirsten Johnson recently published her first novel, Footsteps. The book follows the story of two sisters, one of whom is subjected to female circumcision and an arranged marriage while the other runs away avoid to the same fate. Though the story is fictional, the experiences are based on stories Johnson heard from Kenyan friends. The topics in the book often elicit emotional responses from people, but Johnson hopes people will leave the book feeling inspired, not overwhelmed. Johnson is an elementary school teacher. She also sells bags made by Kenyan women at art fairs in the area and donates all of the profits to the artisans.
Paul E. Thompson (70-73) recently attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference as a representative of Edina, Minnesota’s, Energy and Environment Commission and a conference delegate for the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. A retired school teacher, Thompson has traveled to many developing nations, including India, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Nepal, which has helped him develop an awareness of how wasteful the United States is. In addition to serving on Edina’s Energy and Environment Commission, he helps to organize events that focus on climate change and is a member of the Edina public schools “Go Green” committee. Thompson won the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service in 1989.
Yaron Glazer recently published his debut novel, Islands of Shadow, Islands of Light. The story follows a woman named Jessica Talbot who travels to Panama City after years of absence to investigate a brutal prison riot. The book is based on personal journals Glazer kept as a Peace Corps volunteer and on research and interviews he conducted over the past few years. Glazer is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He currently lives in China, where he is working on his next novel, Zhongguo, a thriller set in near future Shanghai.
The National Adult Day Services Association recently awarded Collin Tong (68-69) the 2009 Katryna Gould Award for his consumer advocacy efforts in support for continued funding of adult day health centers in Washington state. Through his outreach, awareness building and rallying of media, business and personal contacts, Tong, a former NPCA board member, garnered enough media coverage and public support to restore partial state funding for adult day health programs. His extensive advocacy work resulted in increased coverage on ADH issues in regional broadcast media as well as The Seattle Times. He also alerted representatives in the state legislature to the importance of social safety net programs serving senior and disabled citizens. The award was presented at NADSA’s 2009 national conference last October in Seattle, Washington.