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University of Iowa News Release

 

Oct. 5, 2007

Film screening, GuluWalk to raise awareness of plight of northern Uganda

For more than two decades, a war between government forces and a rebel group known as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has devastated Northern Uganda, especially the Acholi people. More than 30,000 children have been abducted by the LRA, according to Amnesty International. After abduction, these children are often forced to commit atrocities, sometimes even against their own families. Many are then put into military combat.

To raise awareness of the situation in northern Uganda, the University of Iowa African Studies Program (ASP), UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and Global Health Club are sponsoring a film screening of "Uganda Rising" and GuluWalk, a walk to support education, rehabilitation and youth support programs in northern Uganda.

"Uganda Rising" will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 in the International Programs Commons, 1117 University Capitol Centre (UCC). The film is a Canadian- produced, directed and written documentary that uncovers what has been called a "hidden war."

A panel will follow the film screening. One panelist is Father Richard Okumu, a Roman Catholic priest in Davenport who is originally from Acholi Land in Uganda. He is also cultural director of Bosco Project, an organization dedicated to providing relief to people in northern Uganda. Other panelists include Peter Kimani, a Kenyan newspaper editor, novelist and poet who has reported major conflicts in Africa for the past 10 years; and Douglas M. Grane, a UI doctoral student in geography, with a strong interest in the intersection of human rights, development and forced migration with Africa and its Diaspora. Edward A. Miner will moderate the panel. Miner is the international studies bibliographer at the UI Libraries and director of the ASP. There will be a $2 suggested donation at the door, with all proceeds going to GuluWalk.

GuluWalk, a seven-kilometer (4.34-mile) walk in its first year at the UI, begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 at Lower City Park in Iowa City. GuluWalk started in Toronto in 2005 as an attempt by two Canadians to better understand the ordeal of the "night commuters" of northern Uganda. In the midst of the civil war, as many as 40,000 children walked every night from their rural villages into the town of Gulu and other urban centers to sleep in relative safety and to avoid abduction by the LRA. To register for GuluWalk, or for more information, visit http://www.guluwalk.com.

For more information or special accommodations for the film screening and panel, contact Miner at 319-335-5883 or edward-miner@uiowa.edu. For more information or special accommodations for GuluWalk, contact Abi Struck-Marcell at abigail-struck-marcell@uiowa.edu.

ASP and UICHR are affiliated with UI International Programs, which enables UI 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 http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/ or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Edward Miner, African Studies Program, 319-335-5883, edward-miner@uiowa.edu; Kelli Andresen, International Programs, 319-335-2026, kelli-andresen@uiowa.edu; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu