ABC News correspondent, author to speak at Catawba

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Author and ABC News correspondent Jim Wooten will speak at Catawba College at noon on Tuesday in Keppel Auditorium. He will address first-year students, their first-year experience professors and peer mentors on his book, “We Are All the Same.”
His book was the 2008-2009 common summer reading text for Catawba first-year students and provides insights on the AIDS crisis in South Africa. Wooten’s address is free and open to the public.
Wooten is an award-winning senior correspondent for ABC News and the recipient of a John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism for “We Are All the Same.” The subtitle of his book, for which he won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, is “A Story of a Boy’s Courage and a Mother’s Love.”
In “We Are All the Same,” the reader is introduced to Nkosi Johnson, a Zulu, HIV-positive child with no hope for living but whose life remains anything but hopeless. The reader also meets the indefatigable white South African Gail Johnson, who becomes Nkosi’s foster mother. Johnson’s persistence as an advocate for children like Nkosi helps draw international attention to discrimination and personalizes the apartheid struggle in their country.
Members of Catawba’s Common Summer Reading Ad Hoc Selection Group recommended the book because it includes topics which may be addressed in first-year seminars, including cultural differences, heroism, vocation and helping, as well as political and social issues. The book also will dovetail with a second semester Consilium course on globalization which first-year students will take.
“We Are All the Same” will provide a starting point for Catawba’s first-year students and their faculty and a common thread for intellectual discussion throughout new students’ first-year experience.
Catawba’s Common Summer Reading began in 2005 as a way to help first-year students become intellectually engaged when they initially arrive on campus. Past selections include Edward Tenner’s “Why Things Bite Back,” Khalid Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner,” and Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.”