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'War in Afghanistan' discussion set for Sept. 10

September 9, 2009

Coastal Carolina University professors Paul Olsen and Ken Townsend will lead a discussion titled "War in Afghanistan: Eight Years Later," based on follow-up interviews with six soldiers serving in the war zone. The presentation with video and photographs will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 in the Edwards Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Olsen and Townsend were embedded with units of the United States Army in Afghanistan for 15 days during the summer of 2006. Through articles and public presentations, they reported their observations on the American and NATO presence in Afghanistan, the impact of war on soldiers and civilians, and the curious realities of modern war seldom addressed by the mainstream news media.

Now that some of the soldiers have been discharged and returned home, Olsen and Townsend contacted them during the summer, interviewing them and their families when possible about the lingering effects of war on their lives.

Olsen, an art professor, is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Miami. He has worked as art director for several advertising agencies, and previously taught at Mississippi University for Women and Columbia College in Missouri. He has exhibited his photography regionally, nationally and internationally.

Townsend, a history professor, joined the Coastal faculty in 1989. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master's degree and Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ###