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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: April 26, 2000

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Members of the media are invited to photograph John Hume at a special, but non-public reception hosted by the UI Center for Human Rights to be held at the UI Museum of Art from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. NO interviews will be allowed.)

UI Center for Human Rights comments on Hume, Good Friday Agreement

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- John Hume' s visit to the University of Iowa this week to talk about the Northern Ireland peace process he helped bring about, brings to a close the Global Focus: Human Rights '98 program, which with Hume's appearance has brought four Nobel Prize winners to the
UI community.

Hume's talk, renamed "The Movement for Peace and Stability in Northern Ireland," from "The Struggle for Peace in Northern Ireland," is part of the UI College of Law's continuing series of Richard S. Levitt Distinguished Lectures. It will be at 4 p.m., Friday, April 28 at Macbride Hall Auditorium.

To have Hume on campus now, two years since he and 1998 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble received the international humanitarian award, marks a rare opportunity for the UI community to hear first-hand how the fractious Irish Catholics and Protestants came to sign the landmark Good Friday Agreement, says Burns Weston, UI College of Law emeritus professor, who headed HR '98.

"There's long been, and in many ways continues to be turmoil in Northern Ireland. But Hume, Trimble and various others still worked hard to bring about peace. We were excited to have him commit to a visit here in 1998, and even more excited to have him visit now," says Weston, now director of the new UI Center for Human Rights.

"The law school has been dedicated to bringing Hume to campus, and we at the Center are pleased to also have been a part of arranging his visit and activities while he's here," Weston says.

The Center will host a special, but non-public reception for Hume that will be attended by its executive council members and Center Fellows. The Center hopes that Sen. Harkin, an honorary member of the Center's executive council, will attend. Other council members, Gov. Tom Vilsack, U.S. House Representative Jim Leach (R-Ia.), former Senator Dick Clark, and Resident Emeritus Willard (Sandy) Boyd will also attend the reception.

The Center is an innovative one that integrates an interdisciplinary approach to raising the public's awareness of human rights issues by drawing on educational, geographical, legal and other disciplines to promote and protect human rights at home and abroad. The Center involves students in its activities, reaches out to local citizens and groups, and reflects the UI' s commitment to a permanent presence for human rights issues and action on the UI campus, the community and beyond.

Founded in 1999, it is a direct outgrowth of the HR '98, which was timed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in 1948. HR '98 also brought Nobel Peace Prize recipients Elie Wiesel, Jose Ramos Horta, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum to the UI between 1998 and 1999.

For more information about the Center and about Hume's visit, contact Burns Weston, UI Center for Human Rights, at (319) 335-3900 or via e-mail at uichr@uiowa.edu or visit the Center's Web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~uichr

Lois Gray, International Programs, can also be reached regarding Hume's visit at (319) 335-2026.