Tom Klobe, an emeritus professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Department of Art and Art History has recently published a memoir entitled A Young American in Iran, his story as a young American Peace Corps volunteer from Hawaiʻi who sets out to a remote Iranian village in the 1960s. Published by Peace Corps Writers and released in December of 2014, A Young American in Iran tackles questions of America’s faults and ambitions, culture shock, and coming to terms with a new identity.
Klobe recalls his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer with gratitude.“Most Peace Corps volunteers will say the experience changed their lives and that they are grateful for the opportunity to experience another place in the world with the intensity that likely only being a Peace Corps Volunteer allows,” said Klobe. “Besides providing assistance to another country and imparting an understanding of America, the goal of the Peace Corps is for us to help Americans come to know another part of the world after we return home.”
In November 1963, a bright Hawaiian morning is shattered by news of the assassination of the president. This marks the beginning of a journey to a remote Iranian village where a young American Peace Corps volunteer sets out with rebellious tenacity to do what is right, unaware of America’s loss of innocence-and his own.
From a youthful determination to perpetuate Kennedy’s legacy, to coping with the reality of America’s faults and ambitions, to grappling with unfamiliar customs and languages, to discovering the friendship and love of Iranians, Tom Klobe discovers that being “Tom of Iran” is as fulfilling as being “American Tom.”
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Serving as the director of the University of Hawaiʻi Art Gallery from 1977 to 2006, Klobe was honored as a recipient of the University of Hawaiʻi Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service in 2003 and was also named a Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi in 2005. He is well known for his exhibition designs and his work in gallery management. He organized and designed over 200 exhibitions, five of which haver received the prestigious Print Casebooks: Best in Exhibition Design award.
Klobe has authored and edited numerous publications including Exhibitions: Concept, Planning and Design which was published in 2012 by the American Association of Museums Press.
To purchase A Young American in Iran and for more on the author, visit the book’s Createspace page.
—By Kapiʻolani Ching