CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Iowa immigrants and Nobel Prize winner tell personal human rights
stories Nov. 12
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Former natives of seven countries who have relocated
to Iowa will share their personal human rights stories during a 1-4:30
p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12 symposium in the Terrace Room (first floor) of the
Iowa Memorial Union.
Natives of Bolivia, Bosnia, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Guatemala, Mexico, and Sierra Leone who have relocated to Iowa, will present
personal testimonies, as will 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu
Tum. Menchu, whose story will open the symposium, lost three family members
during her family's crusade against human rights abuses of indigenous Indians
of non-Spanish descent by the Guatemalan military.
The personal anecdotes will be followed by Menchu's human rights lecture
at 8 p.m. Menchu is lecturing as a part of Global Focus: Human Rights
'98, the year-long, University of Iowa commemoration of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights signed 50 years ago.
The purpose of the symposium, "The Struggle for Human Rights: The
Broken Silence of Iowa Immigrants," is to poignantly show that human
rights is a local, as well as universal, issue.
"The program is designed to create some space in the universe for
'silent' voices of immigrants by probing the human condition through human
faces and personal stories. We want to make Iowans more aware of the economic
and cultural contributions immigrants make to the vitality of our state
in the Heartland," says Dorothy Paul, symposium coordinator.
The symposium is free and open to the public. A reception for Menchu
will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the North Union of the IMU; tickets are $5.
For more information, contact: Dorothy Paul, Iowa Division, United Nations
Association-USA (a symposium co-sponsor) at (319) 337-7290.
Other co-sponsors are The Stanley Foundation and Amnesty International