Marticke Speaker Sulome Anderson

On Friday, January 27th, Sulome Anderson ’03 presented to the student body as this year’s Marticke Speaker. The Marticke Speaker Series was established in honor of Keir Marticke ’02, who unexpectedly passed away in 2004 after contracting hemorrhagic pneumonia. She was vacationing in Vietnam while studying abroad at the University of New South Wales, a testament to her love of travel and discovery. Anderson supported that legacy in her speech, which described her own adventures in becoming a journalist in the Middle East.

Anderson described the turbulent early years of her life, when her father was kept hostage in Lebanon during its long and bloody civil war. As a very young girl, she candidly asked her mother where her father was, and why his captors needed to keep him there for so long. After he finally rejoined his family, when Sulome was six-years-old, there was much adaptation before the family could approach normality. Her family eventually settled down in Ohio, and Anderson attended Western Reserve Academy.

After studying theater at New York University, Anderson changed courses to follow her father’s example, graduating from Columbia’s School of Journalism. She admitted that her decision may seem irrational, given the fact that her father was captured while reporting in Lebanon. Now as a published author and writer for VICE, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, and more, Anderson held no regrets.

One of the most difficult, yet influential, moments in her career came when Anderson interviewed one of the men who guarded her father during his capture. She stated that he was now a politician, with whom she unknowingly worked with for years. To hear firsthand the answers to her childhood questions was emotional. Anderson learned that this man was not evil, and he was not special; he was just a young adult trying to survive in a war-consumed country. The militia group did not have a grudge against Terry Anderson. He was simply an American, and Americans were valuable. This story and more information is included in her new book, The Hostage’s Daughter.

Anderson shined most after the speech as she answered questions and visited classes. She implored students to pursue what makes them happy in life, and also stressed the importance of media literacy when there is such a plethora of information at our disposal. During one of Ms. Jill Evan’s english classes, Anderson also explained some of the personal details behind her father’s recovery. He feigned normality in order to finish psychological counseling, but remained reserved and plagued by PTSD. Anderson said that her book and the investigation that built it was partially a mechanism to rebuild her relationship with her father. Through her powerful personal stories, Anderson conveyed important modern lessons to the entire student body.

Zachary Bloom ’17

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