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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 2, 2006

Human Rights Watch Africa Director Peter Takirambudde To Visit Oct. 9-11

Human rights and the situation in Darfur will be the focus of a visit to the University of Iowa for a well known human rights scholar. Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), will visit the UI campus and community Oct. 9-11.

The UI African Studies Program, UI Center for Human Rights and International Programs are sponsoring Takirambudde's visit. Additional support comes from the UI College of Law and School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

On Monday, Oct. 9, Takirambudde will give a public lecture "Darfur: Testing the Effectiveness of International Institutions in Responding to Human Rights Crimes" from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in 1505 Seamans Center on the UI campus.

Takirambudde has held his post with HRW in New York since early 1996. He is HRW's chief strategist and spokesperson on Africa and is responsible for overseeing the activities of the organization in the region. He has held law professorships at the University of Botswana and the University of Lund in Sweden and has served as the Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Botswana. He received his bachelor's degree from Makerere University, Uganda in 1972 and a doctoral degree from Yale University in 1978. A recipient of numerous academic honors, Takirambudde has written, lectured and consulted extensively on a range of international and Southern African human rights topics and appears often in the major media. In his tenure as Africa Director, the HRW Africa program has more than doubled in size while adding more economic and social rights coverage.

According to Edward Miner, director of the UI African Studies Program, Human Rights Watch has emerged in the last few years as the international organization with the most aggressive research and reporting program on human rights, and the most comprehensive in scope.

"Under Takirambudde's leadership, its Africa Division has kept attention focused on victims of injustice that would otherwise be all but invisible, and has effectively fought for transparency in governance," Miner said. "Human rights is also a core area of international research and teaching interest at UI, and nowhere moreso than among our African Studies faculty."

Also during Takirambudde's visit, there will be a screening of "The Refugee All Stars" followed by a discussion from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11 in 1505 Seamans Center on the UI campus. "The Refugee All Stars" tells the story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who come together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. Forced from their homes in Sierra Leone, the members of the band represent the thousands of stories that exist amongst the survivors of the Sierra Leonean civil war. Over the course of three years, the band travels amongst Guinean refugee camps and back to war-ravaged Freetown as part of the United Nations Refugee Agency's "go-and-see" program.

Takirambudde will introduce the film, the first of a series of four films in the UI Center for Human Rights HRW Film Festival. For more information about dates, times and locations for the screenings in October and November, visit the UI Center for Human Rights Web site at or call 319-335-3900.

During his visit, Takirambudde will also take part in the Careers for Change lecture series and visit the UI College of Law and School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information or special accommodations, contact Edward Miner, African Studies Program director, at 319-335-5883 or For more information about the African Studies Program, visit:

The African Studies Program and UI Center for Human Rights are affiliated with UI International Programs. International Programs 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: Edward Miner, 319-335-5883,; Writer: Kelli Andresen