WRITER: DISA LUBKER
CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: March 14, 2002
International human rights
activist to visit UI March 26-28
International human rights activist Dr. Owens Wiwa, M.D., M.P.H., will visit
The University of Iowa March 26 to 28, giving several presentations to UI
students and the public on globalization, environmental health and human rights
Wiwa is the executive director of the African
Environmental and Human Development Agency (AFRIDA), a research and development
non-governmental organization that works in resource-bearing communities in
Africa. He is also a research fellow for Culture, Communities and Health Studies
at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a WHO-affiliated center, in
"We are thrilled that Dr. Wiwa will share his expertise and insights
on human rights and globalization here on the UI campus and in the community,"
said Maureen McCue, MD, Hewlett Scholar Program director and one of the main
organizers of Wiwa's visit. "This has been an incredible team effort
with many different offices, community organizations and departments lending
their support to make this happen."
is a schedule of Wiwa's public appearances and lectures:
will speak to UI students on "Globalization and Migration" Tuesday,
March 26, from 9:30-11 a.m. in the class, "U.S. Health Experiences of
Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees" in Room 36 of the International Center.
That afternoon from 2:30-3 p.m., there will be a reception with faculty and
students from the UI College of Public Health in the Seebohm Conference Room,
Room 283 in the Eckstein Medical Research Building (EMRB) on the UI campus.
will present "Environmental Health and Human Rights," from 3-4 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26, also in the Seebohm Conference Room
Wednesday, March 27, Wiwa will discuss "Global Extractive Industries
and Human Rights" from 2:30-4:30 p.m. as a part of the Global Studies
News Colloquium at 120 Spencer Laboratories of Psychology on the UI campus.
Also on March 27, from 7-8 p.m. there will be a free screening of the
movie "Delta Force" at the Bijou Theater, located in the Illinois
Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. A
question and answer session with Wiwa will follow from 8-9 p.m. Delta Force
is an hour-long documentary detailing military attacks on Ogoni communities
and the relationship between Shell and the Nigerian military dictatorship.
Delta Force looks closely at the effects of Shell's environmental assault
on the landscape of the most populous area of Africa's most populous nation.
March 28, from 9:30-11 a.m., Wiwa will speak on "Stress, Resettlement
& Health to students in the class, "U.S. Health Experiences of Immigrants,
Migrants, Refugees," in Room 36 of the International Center on the UI
campus. From 4-5:15 p.m., Wiwa will also speak to environment and development
students on "Globalization
and Environment," in room W207 of the Pappajohn Business Building.
his final public speaking event, Wiwa will address "Globalization, Environment
and Human Rights," from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in Beems Auditorium
of the Cedar Rapids Public Library as part of the UNA-USA Linn County Chapter
Forum. Co-sponsors of this specific event include Amnesty International, Sierra
Club, and African American Heritage Foundation. A question and answer session
will follow from 8:30-9 p.m.
a physician in Nigeria, Wiwa treated and documented diseases caused by oil
industry pollution and also attended to injuries presented by the victims
of human rights abuses inflicted by the military dictatorship in Nigeria.
As a result of his work and advocacy on behalf of the Ogoni people, he was
arrested and detained by the military government on three occasions and tortured
on one occasion. In 1994, the Nigerian military government declared Wiwa and
other Ogoni activists "wanted." After the November 1995 execution
of his brother -- celebrated author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa
-- Wiwa escaped Nigeria with his wife and child, relocating to Canada as refugees.
Having continued his education at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, he
and his family now reside in Toronto.
has given presentations to European Parliaments and U.S. Congressional Committee
hearings on environmental and human rights violations in Nigeria. He has been
a tireless activist for the health and human rights of indigenous peoples,
traveling to 80 universities and colleges in Europe, North America and Africa,
advocating for respect for environment and human rights by transnational corporations
and governments. He has also served as technical consultant to the WHO committee
on the United Nations (UN) World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD),
which will meet in Johannesburg, South Africa later this year as a follow
up to the 1992 Rio Summit.
articles have appeared in several leading newspapers and magazines around
the world. He is also the author of chapters in several books, including "Peace,
Justice and Freedom: Human Rights Challenges for the New Millennium"
(University of Alberta Press). Dr. Wiwa's biography detailing his activism
on globalization, "Dance the Guns to Silence: Dr. Owens Wiwa and the
Environmental War in the Niger Delta," will be published soon by Macfarlane Walter &
and community sponsors of Wiwa's visit include the following: the UI African
Association, the African American Heritage Foundation, the African Women's
Association, Amnesty International, the UI Bijou Movie Theater, the UI College
of Public Health, Critical Development Studies, the Global Health Studies
Program, the Hewlett Scholar Program, International Programs, the International
Writing Program, the Sierra Club, the UI Center for Human Rights, and United
Nations Association (UNA)-USA Linn County Chapter. A number of other university departments and centers are endorsing
more information on Wiwa's visit, contact Maureen McCue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For special accommodations to attend any of these lectures or a complete speaking
itinerary, contact Blythe Burkhardt, International Programs, at (319) 335-1436.