Parallel Lives: Said Mahran, Flores Forbes, and Jamal Joseph
Date: March 20, 2009 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm EDT
Location: Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center - 3940 Broadway (at 165th Street)
Contact: For further information regarding this event, please contact Community Affairs by sending email to .
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March 20, 2009
6pm / FREE
Parallel Lives: Said mahran, Flores Forbes and Jamal Joseph
Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center - 3940 Broadway (at 165th Street)
Flores Forbes and Jamal Joseph discuss the main character from The Thief and the Dogs in relationship to their personal experiences with the Black Panther Party. Moderated by Jewel Kinch-Thomas. Reception to follow.

Participant biographies: 


Jewel Kinch-Thomas is currently the Executive Director of Theatre & Performing Arts at the Theatre

of the Riverside Church. Prior to this position, Ms. Kinch-Thomas spent eight years as an account executive with a film editing organization and several years as an entrepreneur–caterer, restaurant owner, real estate investor--acquiring strong creative, organizational and managerial skills along the way. Moving into the not-for-profit arena eight years ago, Ms. Kinch-Thomas has been responsible for the management of the historic Riverside Church’s 250-seat venue; the marketing, fundraising and rental program of the theatre, as well as the development of artistic programming. A Bachelor’s degree graduate of Fordham University, Jewel attained certificates

in arts administration from NYU’s Continuing Education Division, Columbia University’s Arts Leadership Institute, and the Arts & Business Council.

She has also participated in New York Foundation for the Arts Leadership Circles and completed the Women in Power: Leadership for the 21st Century program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Forbes wasn't the first 16-year-old boy to be smitten by the romance of revolution, but he is among the handful in recent American history who became top-ranking members of the Black Panther Party. Forbes joined the Black Panther Party as a 16-year-old in 1968. Within eight years, he had become a member of the inner circle that gave him access to cofounder Huey Newton. His autobiography, “Will You Die With Me?” reads like a modern-day Crime and Punishment, tracking Forbes's evolution from a comrade who thought he could "do almost anything" to achieve a revolutionary objective to a prisoner in existential crisis. 

He is currently AVP, Strategic Policy and Program Implementation for the Office of Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University.


Joseph joined the Black Panther party at the age of 15. At 21, he was convicted in the famous trial of ’78, and as a result he has spent 9 1/2 years in prison. Since then, he has been very active within the Harlem community. Jamal is the Executive Artistic Director of New Heritage Theater and Films and the Co-Founder of Impact Repertory Theater. Jamal is working as the writer/director on a film about his experiences as a youth in the Black Panther party and nine years in prison for Focus features. Jamal has won a Cine Golden Eagle, a National Black program Consortium Prized Pieces Award, a Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award, a new Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a best song Oscar nomination for his work with Impact in the film August Rush.  He is currently a professor and chair of Columbia University's Graduate Film program.  

Big Read Egypt/U.S. Community Calendar – March 2009

Big Read Egypt/U.S. events are FREE and open to the public.

Columbia University Libraries - Resources related to Arabic Literature and Naguib Mahfouz   

Copies of the Thief and the Dogs will be available at many Big Read events. The book is also available at local bookstores. Prior knowledge of the book is not required to attend events, although we strongly encourage all to pick up a copy of the book during the Big Read in the month of March.

Questions? Please email or call 212-854-5301.

The Big Read Egypt/U.S. is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, designed to deepen cultural understanding and dialogue between Egyptians and Americans through the transformative power of literature. Columbia University in the City of New York is one of four U.S. organizations selected to lead this program.

Partners and Credits

The National Endowment for the Arts

The U.S. Department of State

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Arts Midwest

Columbia University - Office of Government and Community Affairs

Department of Middle East and South Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Middle East Institute, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

The School of the Arts, Columbia University

The Center for Literary Translation at Columbia University

Deutsches Haus at Columbia University

The Amheida Project

The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture  


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