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

Release: Oct. 18, 2002

Susan Neely to address 'Keeping America's Doors Open' at Nov. 3 CIVIC annual meeting

Susan Neely, special assistant to the president and senior director of communications for the Office of Homeland Security, will speak on "Keeping America's Doors Open" as the keynote speaker for the 17th anniversary luncheon for the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC).

The luncheon will be Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Elks Country Club, 600 Foster Rd. in Iowa City. A cash bar begins at noon, and the program begins at 12:15 p.m. with Neely's address. The luncheon will be served at 1:15 p.m., followed by a reading by Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program (IWP). Tickets are $25, and the deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 25.

Neely, a native of Iowa City, graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in speech and dramatic art and French civilization. She received her master’s of public administration from Drake University.

During her lecture, Neely will discuss the events of Sept. 11, 2001, which served as a harsh wake-up call to America that terrorists can and will exploit any opportunity to harm the public. Neely will explore how, as a result of that day, the country launched an intense effort to plug the gaps in the nation's security. President Bush established the nation's first Office of Homeland Security following the events of Sept. 11, to develop and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to strengthen the country against terrorist threats or attacks.

Neely said that a major challenge of this effort is to preserve America's historic openness while implementing stronger protections against terrorist attack. She will discuss the strategy and initiatives underway to strengthen homeland security and keep America's doors open.

"CIVIC promotes citizen diplomacy in the belief that person-to-person exchanges bridge cultures and foster international understanding, which is needed now more than ever," says Jo Lavera Jones, CIVIC vice president. "This occasion is a great opportunity to learn to what extent citizen diplomacy may be challenged or strengthened by post-Sept. 11 efforts to protect the nation."

Prior to this position, Neely was senior vice president for communications at the Association of American Medical Colleges, a trade association representing all 125 medical schools and more than 400 teaching hospitals, including the University of Iowa College of Medicine and UI Health Care.

She also has extensive experience in the political and governmental arena and has worked for former Gov. Terry Branstad, congressman Sid Morrison and congressman Jim Leach. She also served as communications director of the Rural American Coalition of Bush-Quayle, '92 and on the executive committee in Iowa of Dole for President '88.

Some of Neely's many accomplishments include being the first woman president of the Washington Rotary Club, president of the Washington Rotary's $6 million dollar foundation, vice president of the University Club of Washington, D.C., the director of the Board of Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club, and the vice chair of the Public Affairs Council.

Checks should be made out to CIVIC and sent to CIVIC, 38 International Center, Iowa City, IA 52244.

For more information, call CIVIC Executive Director Tom Baldridge or CIVIC Office Manager Marianne Weiss at 319-335-0351.

CIVIC serves as host to international visitors invited by United States embassies to take part in the International Visitor Program. As a member of the National Council for International Visitors, CIVIC is one of 98 nationwide community organizations that promote intercultural exchange between international leaders, the educational and business community. When a visit includes eastern Iowa, CIVIC arranges for professional consultations and field trips to industrial, scientific, educational and business facilities. Visitors are also invited to participate in the social and cultural life of our communities through home hospitality, sightseeing, cultural and recreational events.

CIVIC is affiliated with International Programs, which is organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean of International Programs (IP). IP is comprised of a number offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. These units serve to further internationalize the campus and the community and to promote global scholarship, research and teaching.