When rebels invaded Ishmael Beah’s hometown, Mogbwemo, located in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone, he was forced to flee. Separated from his family, he spent months wandering south with a group of other boys until, at the age of 13, he was forced to become a child soldier, fighting for almost three years before he was rescued by UNICEF. Beah now lives in the United States and is the author of New York Times bestselling memoir, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, about his experiences in the war. He is a UNICEF advocate for Children Affected by War, a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ishmael Beah spoke with French students Sept. 20, 2013, at Columbia Global Centers | Europe during the World Writers' Festival to share some of his experiences as a boy soldier in the war in Sierra Leone.