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STJ Freshman Read 2012   Tags: freshman read, global issues, oppression, social justice, women's studies  

a resource guide for St. John's University 2012 Freshman Read, Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Last Updated: Feb 3, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

2012: Half the Sky Print Page

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About this guide

We are pleased to announce that the St. John's Univeristy 2012 "common book" and Freshman Read is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Welcome to St. John’s University!

Dear Members of the Class of 2016,

Welcome. To make your transition to the St. John’s University community as seamless as possible, we are presenting you with this edition of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide for your summer reading. In this popular and influential book, the authors uncover and report on worldwide social injustices against women and offer practical advice to help eradicate this endemic oppression through entrepreneurial and educational programs. Because our University provides a curriculum and atmosphere that enables students to evolve spiritually as well as academically, we think Half the Sky makes an excellent choice for this year’s “common book.”

Our Vincentian mission calls us to address and act upon the causes of poverty and social injustice in our global world. As one of the many experiences you’ll share with our St. John’s community, reading Half the Sky together will introduce you to some of the global challenges of the oppression of women, including forced prostitution, gender-based violence, maternal mortality and sex trafficking. And, in the Vincentian tradition, this inspirational book will demonstrate how education and economic empowerment might pave the path to justice and equality for women worldwide, consistent with our mission of fostering respect for the dignity of every person and compassionate concern for all.

We invite you to join us for the upcoming events and activities scheduled this year around themes in the book. We plan to have at least one of the authors visit the University during the academic year to talk about the book, giving students an opportunity to ask questions.

We hope you enjoy reading Half the Sky. To get up-to-date information on the book, visit:

Derek Owens, D.A.
Vice Provost


In the STJ Libraries

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Half the Sky - Nicholas D. Kristof; Sheryl WuDunn
Call Number: HQ1236.5.D44 K75 2009
ISBN: 9780307267146
Publication Date: 2009-09-08
From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational,Half the Skyis essential reading for every global citizen.


From the Nicholas D. Kristof NY Times blog

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