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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 17, 2004

Peace Activist To Discuss Experiences In Iraq At Nov. 30 ICFRC

Despite the violence in Iraq over the past few years, peace activists have made it a mission to maintain a presence on behalf of civilians before, during and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Peggy Faw Gish, a leader of the first Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) group to go to Iraq in October 2002, will discuss her experiences in "Up Close & Personal: Recollections of a Peace Activist in Iraq, October 2002-September 2004" at noon Tuesday, Nov. 30, during the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) luncheon in the Rockwood Fellowship Hall of Congregation Church, 30 North Clinton St.

As the war approached, Gish and other members of her group hung banners at various civilian sensitive locations in Iraq that stated, "To Bomb This Site is a War Crime" under Geneva Convention Article 54. Gish was deported by the Iraqi government but later returned to Iraq under the U.S. occupation.

"As the occupation progressed, the CPT group continued to live among and 'accompany' the Iraqi people as they survived in the ensuing violence and under the authority of the occupying military," Gish said. "CPT intervened and advocated for peaceful solutions, supporting local efforts to rebuild community."

Gish is the author of "Iraq: A Journey of Hope and Peace", which chronicles her Iraq experience, including a brief "Postscript." These include stories of sleeping in a tent during bomb attacks, villages surrounded by razor wire, Gish's deportation from Iraq, her fighting for justice for Iraqi prisoners, being robbed, creating relationships with Iraqi citizens and -- through it all -- seeking the way of Christ's peace.

Gish is a mother, grandmother, farmer and long-time peace and social justice activist from southern Ohio. She has served as a social worker in rural Indiana and inner city Chicago as co-director of the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, as a conflict management trainer, and a community mediator. Since 1995, Gish has been involved with CPT in the West Bank and Iraq.

The Nov. 30 program will be catered by Tayeeb. The luncheon is made possible with the support of Prairie Lights Books and is sponsored by International Programs and ICFRC. For those unable to attend the program, WSUI-AM will broadcast it on Wednesday, Dec. 1, following the noon news.

Send reservation forms with a check to: ICFRC, 38 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1802. Reservations for the Gish luncheon should be received in the office by noon, Friday, Nov. 26. Reservations are $7 for members and $8.50 for non-members.

For more information on this program or the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, contact Tom Baldridge at 319-335-0351.

ICFRC is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

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

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Program: Tom Baldridge, 319-335-0351, thomas-baldridge@uiowa.edu; Writer: Kent Nguyen