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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

International rock star brings message of peace

A rock star is coming to Pittsburg State University, but there's a good chance that most people in the Four-State area haven't heard of him. While Salman Ahmad may not be a household name in middle America, this wildly popular south Asian rocker is well known around the world for his message of peace and understanding. Ahmad has been appointed a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for HIV Awareness and was recently invited to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

Ahmad will perform, show some of his music videos and answer audience questions from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, in the Overman Student Center on the PSU campus. The performance is free and open to the public.

Ahmad was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but moved with his family to New York, where he went to Tappan Zee High School in Tappan, N.Y.

After graduating from high school, Ahmad got his medical degree from Pakistan's King Edward Medical College in Lahore. While in med school, Ahmad was also a member of Pakistan's first pop band, Vital Signs, whose debut album sold a million copies. This success inspired Ahmad to give up his stethoscope and pick up his guitar. In 1990 he founded South Asia's biggest rock band, Junoon.

Since its founding, Junoon has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide and has the distinction of being the first ever rock band to be invited to perform at the U.N. general assembly.

Ahmad has been a passionate activist in promoting peace in the subcontinent. His efforts to build bridges between India and Pakistan have resulted in a music video he produced called "Ghoom Tana," which appears on his latest solo album, "INFINITI," and is currently being broadcast on MTV Desi in the U.S.

Ahmad has appeared in a number of documentary films including, "It's My Country too," which looks at Muslim-Americans post 9-11. Another award-winning documentary film, "The Rockstar and the Mullahs," brought Ahmad together with fundamentalist religious leaders to discuss the meaning of Islam. Both films, which represent efforts to create understanding between the community of his birth and the culture in which he grew up and now lives, have been broadcast on PBS and the BBC.

"This truly a unique opportunity to hear the international message of peace and good will," said Chuck Olcese, director of International Programs and Services at PSU.

Jeff Hashman, coordinator in the International Programs and Services office, said that although Ahmad's performance is free, seating is limited in the student center's Crimson and Gold Ballroom. Free tickets may be obtained in advance of the performance at the PSU Ticket Office in the Overman Student Center or at the International Programs and Services Office in 118 Whitesitt Hall.

Support from a number of sponsors has made Ahmad's visit to PSU possible. They include: the Student Government Association, the Indian Student Association, International Programs & Services, the International Student Association, the Office of Student Diversity, the Student Activities Council, and Sodexho Food Services.

For more information about Ahmad's visit or International Programs and Services at PSU, please call 620-235-4680, or e-mail colcese@pittstate.edu.

Salman Ahmad on the Web: www.junoon.com

---Pitt State---