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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: June 7, 2001

CIVIC hosts visitors to local community in June

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two Pakistani scholars who are interested in the role of religion in American society, a Portuguese diplomat, and two librarians from Near East countries will visit eastern Iowa during June as guests of the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC).

Muhammad Ashraf Shaheen Qaisrani, director, Seerat chair, and Quetta chairman, department of Islamic studies at the University of Balochistan, Quetta; and Mohammad Amir, Librarian, Majilis-E-Elmi Foundation (Council of Knowledge), Karachi Columnist, Daily "Ummat," Karachi, both of Pakistan, will visit the area June 9-13. They speak Urdu (native), English and Arabic, and will be accompanied by an interpreter.

The purpose of their visit is to learn about religion in American society. Goals include exposing them to a vision of U.S. society where people following different religions live peacefully and are not dogmatic in interaction with other religions as well as exposing them to U.S. society and culture so that they can observe its ethnic and religious diversity.

Goncalo Teles Gomes of Portugal will visit the Iowa City area June 10-13. Gomes is first secretary and deputy head of Mission, Embassy of Portugal, Kinshasa, Republic of Congo. During his visit, he hopes to meet with specialists on African issues. He is interested in discussing U.S. and European policy toward war-torn areas in central and southern Africa with experts both in and outside of government, and at universities and think tanks.

Gomes would also like to spend time talking to experts on the following: terrorism, the concept of "failed states," ethnic conflict, conflict resolution and peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. He also hopes to continue discussions on foreign policy, with special reference to Africa. He is also interested in African studies programs at U.S. universities. He speaks Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.

On June 12-14, Mohamed Hedi Yahia, chief librarian, faculty of economics and management science, Tunisia, and Francis Sleibi, head of the Audiovisual Center and Library Automation, Bethlehem University and a Network Administrator with Baboun Computer Company, Bethlehem, West Bank, will visit the area to learn about university operations, such as the Information Arcade, library automation and network administration. They both speak English, Arabic and French, and Sleibi also speaks Hebrew.

CIVIC is a community organization of volunteers serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis. It is one of two such organizations in Iowa that accommodates the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Program (IVP). IVP is a professional exchange program administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

To receive a complete itinerary or to set up interviews with any of these CIVIC visitors, call Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director, at (319) 335-0351.