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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 3, 2006

Human Rights Reading Group To Discuss Work Of Ken Cmiel Nov. 15

The third and final session of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) Fall 2006 Human Rights Reading Group will explore the scholarship of Ken Cmiel, former UICHR director and UI Professor of History, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the International Commons, Room 1117, University Capitol Centre (UCC) on the UI campus.

The session is part of a series of discussions on human rights issues and ideas of relevance to the UI community. Cmiel contributed a significant body of work documenting the history of human rights ideas. He was working on a new book exploring the ideological origins of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the time of his death in February 2006.

The faculty convener of the session, Shelton Stromquist, UI history professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), explains that Cmiel, "saw the debates surrounding the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948 and the intellectual traditions that fed those debates as an absolutely vital opportunity to understand the historical context of late twentieth century human rights concerns and the persisting points of contention and consensus in the global human rights community of our own time."

Amy Weismann, deputy director of the UICHR, says "This session provides a unique opportunity for all those who have been impacted by Professor Cmiel's outstanding scholarship to pay tribute to his contributions, and fittingly, to take up the challenge he articulated through his work to reflect upon and engage in dialogue about the meaning of human rights."

All faculty, staff, students of the UI as well as the public are welcome to attend this session. The readings for the session are available online on the UICHR website at (Click on "Education" on side bar menu to reach listing for "Human Rights Reading Group"). The session will focus on three articles outlining Cmiel's innovative understanding of human rights.

The UICHR is a part of International Programs, which enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

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,; Program: Amy Weismann or Liz Crooks, 319-335-3900; Writer: Amy Weismann.