The Alchemy of the Mind Book Reading

When: Back to Calendar February 7, 2013 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Where: Southern Oregon University Hannon Library
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland,OR 97520
Contact: Hannon Library Administration


Albanian student and survivor of the war and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Flamur Vehapi, will discuss the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, its effects on the society and how it led to the fall of Yugoslavia in the 90s. Flamur will also read from his book, The Alchemy of the Mind. The free program will take place in the SOU Hannon Library Meese Meeting Room (LIB305) on Thursday, Feb 7 at 4 p.m. A book signing will follow the event.

During this presentation Flamur will attempt to expose a phenomenon that tore his society apart and finally led the nations of former Yugoslavia to great bloodshed. Furthermore, the structure of conflict-prone nationalism in its recurrent and widespread appearance will be examined and assessed in terms of its historical roots, evolution, and socio-political consequences. The focus of the talk will be the examination of how it nationalism configures identity, historiography, nationhood, democracy, and human values, above all.

Vehapi’s newest book, The Alchemy of Mind, was inspired by Rumi and other poets and philosophers, as well as his experiences during war in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999 which forced Vehapi and his family from their country. The insights of these sixty poems are laced with irony and Vehapi’s understanding of our common humanity. Despite the irony, the message of the book is one of peace and unity. This is Vehapi’s second book; while still in Albania, he published a book of his poems, written in Albanian, that include drawings of his destroyed home and other wartime scenes.

Flamur Vehapi was born in Kosova where he studied until the Serbian regime closed the schools for the Kosovar Albanians. Flamur Vehapi was 15 years old when Kosovo erupted into ethnic warfare that pitted Serbians against Kosovar Albanians. Seeking shelter from the persecution and the daily massacres organized by military rule of Slobodan Miloševic, the family’s exile took them to refugee camps in Macedonia, Italy and Switzerland. Along the way Vehapi studied other languages. He’s proficient in several languages. After the war, he returned home and continued his education there. In 2005 he came to America to attend Rogue Community College and served as a student senator. Now, as a psychology major at Southern Oregon University, he is a student ambassador for Kosova and a public speaker, sharing his story and the history of his country in schools and organizations in Southern Oregon. Vehapi is currently working on a third book, this one about his life experiences.

The public is invited to this free lecture at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 7 in the Meese Meeting Room (305) at Hannon Library. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the lecture.