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CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: scott-hauser@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UI hosts conference of international law students Oct. 14-17

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As many as 200 students and scholars of international law from across the United States and several foreign countries will gather at the University of Iowa to discuss the future of human rights during an annual conference of the International Law Students Association Oct. 14-17.

The Iowa Society of the International Law Students Association (ISILA), based at the UI College of Law, will be the host for the four-day conference, one of two such gatherings conducted by the international organization each year. Events include a keynote speech by Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize.

The conference, "Human Rights and International Law: Moving Toward a Global Community," is open to the public, but registration fees are required. The conference coincides with the UI's year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, known as "Global Focus: Human Rights '98."

Rockne Cole, vice president for ISILA, says the conference will bring together representatives from industry and corporate legal offices, labor organizations, non-governmental organizations, and academics to examine the ethical and practical issues of surrounding human rights throughout the world.

One of the goals of the conference is to focus on the influence private corporations can have in promoting respect for human rights, Cole says.

"In the era of globalization, the private sector plays a key role in maintaining and promoting human rights," Cole says. "We want to investigate how legal practitioners implement and enforce human rights standards in the countries in which they work, the difficulties they've encountered and steps they've taken to be successful."

The conference begins with registration at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at the Boyd Law Building. Panel discussions, workshops and plenary sessions will be held throughout the four days, with the closing banquet at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

Wiesel, the author of Holocaust literature's landmark trilogy, "Night," "Dawn" and "Day," will present the keynote lecture at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Hancher Auditorium. The speech is sponsored by Global Focus '98.

Other participants include representatives from the Centre for Refuge Studies, the International Human Rights Law Group, John Deere and Co., 3M, the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, the Bureau of Refugee Services, Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, as well as attorneys from private firms who advocated for international human rights.

The conference also will emphasize the golden anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enacted by representatives to the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948. The opening plenary session of the conference, "Taking Stock since 1948: A Status Report of the Human Rights Movement," at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 will take an in-depth look at the anniversary.

Cole says organizers also hope to generate discussion among participants on how the private sector fits into the "grand scheme of the Universal Declaration."

"We really hope to assess the status of human rights today and assess the prospects for the future," Cole says.

Law students from throughout the Midwest as well as from California, Florida, New York, Virginia and other states are expected to attend. Students from Russia, Mexico, Canada, and India also regularly take part.

In addition to the public sessions, the annual conference is a business meeting for the International Law Students Association. The conference features sessions on career planning, study abroad opportunities, internships opportunities and other issues of interest to students studying international law.

The registration fee for the conference, Human Rights and International Law: Moving Toward a Global Community, is $25 in advance (prior to Sept 15), and $40 for late registration (Sept. 16 to Oct. 16). Registration includes hotel shuttles to and from the law school; admittance to all conference events (except career panels and career reception); and the closing banquet. (Availability of banquet reservations for late registrants will be limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.)

The host site for the conference is chosen each year by the more than 200 member chapters of the International Law Students Association.

For more information on the conference, Human Rights and International Law: Moving Toward a Global Community, at the University of Iowa College of Law, contact the Iowa Society of the International Law Students Association, 185 Boyd Law Building, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242; phone: (319) 353-5440. Or visit the website: http://www.uiowa.edu/~iclp/conference/index.html

For more information about the UI's year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, visit the website: http://www.uiowa.edu/~hr98

8/25/98