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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Lecturer to share story of cultural diversity

For aspiring novelists, doctors and philosophers, today brings a lecture that was crafted just for you.

The new Department of Comparative Cultural Studies has extended an invite to Dr. Abraham Verghese, a novelist and medical professor, who will give a lecture and autograph books beginning at 7:30 p.m. today in the Grand Ballroom at the UH Hilton Hotel.

The lecture is a part of the John P. McGovern Endowed Lecture series, which brings distinguished speakers to discuss issues involving family, health and human values.

Verghese will be introduced by Chitra Divakaruni, a member of the UH creative writing faculty. A Q-and-A session will follow Verghese’s talk.
Lois Parkinson Zamora, chairperson of the new department of comparative cultural studies, said in press

release that Verghese’s diverse background — as an Indian who was born in and grew up in Ethiopia and then immigrated to the United States — could make him the ideal candidate to inaugurate the Indian studies minor at the University.

“We’ve asked that he talk about his Indian cultural origins, his cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary experiences,” Zamora said. “I expect he’ll talk about his writing, too.”
John W. Roberts, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, noted in a press release that the process of starting a program centered on India began about six years ago but never took shape until now.

“The current initiative represents an attempt to revitalize the program due, in large part, to our continuing recognition of the importance of India as a civilization of both historic and contemporary significance in the development of world culture,” Roberts said. “It also represents the importance of the Indian community in Houston, a city with one of the largest Indian populations in the United States.”

Aside from his diverse background, Verghese brings a record of incredible accomplishments. He is the author of three books including “Cutting for Stone,” which garnered best-seller status, as well as “The Tennis Partner” and “My Own Country.”

The novels are explorations of his own life experiences in Ethiopia, Texas and Tennessee.
Verghese has distinguished himself in the medical field as well. According to his university profile, he has taught on the medicine faculties of Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he founded the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics.

Verghese is now a member of the medicine faculty at Stanford University, where he serves as senior associate chair in the Department of Internal Medicine and also directs the Internal Medical Residency Program.

The lecture is presented with the support of the India Studies Program, the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, the Medicine & Society Program at the Honors College, the History and English departments at UH, as well as the El Paso Corporation Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.

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