Berkeley Rep Blog

Previous entry: Great Game garners great reviews
Next entry: A personal, passionate opinion about The Game

Free panel discussion on Afghanistan tonight

posted by Karen McKevitt on Thu, Oct 28, 2010
in Events

Bookmark and Share

(l to r) Shereen Martineau and Sheena Bhattessa star in The Great Game: Afghanistan. Photo: John Haynes.

We’ve received terrific response from both critics and audiences for The Great Game: Afghanistan, the sweeping three-part cycle of short plays by 12 top playwrights, playing through November 7. We shouldn’t be surprised; after all, we know our audiences are adventurous and hungry for theatre both intelligent and entertaining. And many of you are looking for more ways to be involved in the conversation about the war in Afghanistan.

One of our many special (and free!) events takes place tonight at the Roda Theatre at 6:00 PM. "Representing Afghanistan: The Great Game" is a forum that examines the opportunities and challenges that involvement in Afghanistan presents, both for foreign countries and for Afghan natives. Moderated by Simon Gammell, director of the British Council, West Coast, the panelists include Dr. Mohammad H. Qayoumi, president, California State University, East Bay; Nushin Arbabzadah, research scholar, UCLA Center for the Study of Women; and Rona Popal, executive director, Afghan Coalition. They’ll discuss the role played by the arts, the media, and academia in our understanding of Afghanistan.

What does The Great Game illustrate about the importance of cultural understanding and dialogue in relation to current events? How do we represent a culture, whether it’s our own or someone else’s? Come find out tonight!

Do you want more info on our speakers? Here are the bios:

Simon Gammell has worked for the British Council in the UK, Italy, Argentina, Australia, India, and now the United States. He has worked extensively in the arts throughout his career, with a particular specialism in international theatre. Simon relocated to LA in August to take up his new position in the British Council's leadership team for USA.

Dr. Mohammad H. Qayoumi, Ph.D., is president of California State University, East Bay (CSUEB). He has worked in university administration more than 30 years and has a background in both engineering and business. Qayoumi was born in Afghanistan and is the first person of Afghan descent to head a major US university. 

Nushin Arbabzadah is an Afghan author, journalist, analyst, and translator who grew up in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation before fleeing to Germany with her family. She is a research scholar at UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Before going to UCLA, Nushin worked for the British Council, running literary and journalistic projects on intercultural communication, with a focus on dialogue with the Muslim world. In 2005, she joined the BBC, where she specialized in media, politics, and society in contemporary Afghanistan.

Rona Popal is the executive director of the Afghan Coalition and AWAI and the project director at Afghan Health Partnership Program. She has worked in social services for more than 20 years as an employment counselor and social worker and has headed the Afghan Women’s Association since 2001 and the Afghan Coalition since 2003. Popal is a recognized community leader and was voted International Woman of the Year by the Silicon Valley Women’s Organization in 2002. She holds a BA in political science and international relations from CSUEB.


The term "The Great Game" is usually attributed to Arthur Conolly (1807–1842), an intelligence officer of the British East India Company's Sixth Bengal Light Cavalry. It was introduced into mainstream consciousness by British novelist Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim (1901).

Tag Your Friends | Fri, Jan 28, 2011

The comments to this entry are closed.