11/07/2007 08:00:00

Combat Correspondent Kevin Sites to Speak at Caltech

PASADENA, Calif.--Kevin Sites, award-winning journalist and news correspondent for the Yahoo! Hot Zone, will discuss his journalistic memoir, In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars, and the accompanying documentary, A World of Conflict, at the California Institute of Technology on Wednesday, November 14, at 8 pm, in Ramo Auditorium.

This presentation is the second of the 2007-08 season of the Caltech Y Social Activism Speaker Series. It is free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets are required. His book, In the Hot Zone, will be available at the event, and a book signing will take place after the presentation.

Over the course of one year, Sites, a veteran combat correspondent, covered 20 conflict zones consecutively, seeking to understand the real costs of a world perpetually at war. He says he learned that war is not about combatants and the clashing of armies, but about the systematic destruction of civil life--civilians and society.

Sites introduces audiences to the film A World of Conflict starting with the anarchy of Somalia in September 2005 and culminating with the explosive war between Israel and Hezbollah in summer 2006. Along the way, actual victims of conflict are presented whose stories highlight not only their suffering, but also their resilience. The stories include a portrait of an Afghan child bride who escaped unspeakable torture; an ex-U.S. Marine who is also the son of a Somalian warlord; His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Kashmir; as well as scenes showing close encounters with American-made smart bombs in Lebanon.

The documentary contains never-before-seen images of combat and its lingering impact on civil society. A World of Conflict aims to put a human face on the toll of war, ultimately imploring us, as global citizens, to take responsibility for the violence being perpetrated around the world.

Sites has spent the past seven years covering global war and disaster for several national networks, including NBC and CNN, and has helped pioneer solo journalism, traveling to and reporting from some of the world's most dangerous locations. During a two-year sabbatical, he served as broadcast lecturer at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. His writing and photography have appeared in numerous publications. Sites currently works as a news correspondent for Yahoo! News, where he has just completed the multi-media project In The Hot Zone. A past Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Award recipient, Sites received the 2005 Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism and the 2006 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.

The Social Activism Speaker Series is organized by Caltech students and focuses attention on current social and political issues by inviting prominent activists to share their experiences and perspectives with the Caltech community and the public. It is coordinated with the help of the Caltech Y and is made possible by contributions from the Moore and Hufstedler funds, Student Affairs, Campus Life, the Alumni Association, the Graduate Student Council, and the Associated Students of Caltech, along with the Caltech Y.

Ramo Auditorium is at the south end of Baxter Hall, which is near the center of the Caltech campus. Parking is available in the lots south of Del Mar Boulevard between Wilson and Chester avenues; in the Holliston Avenue parking structure between Del Mar Boulevard and San Pasqual Street; and in the Wilson Avenue parking structures between San Pasqual Street and Del Mar Boulevard.

For more information, visit http://sass.caltech.edu or contact Greg Fletcher, Caltech Y, (626) 395-6163.

Written by Deborah Williams-Hedges