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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 22, 2007

Students will discuss human right to food during International Day Oct. 30

Nearly 300 students from 24 middle and high schools across Iowa will participate in the University of Iowa's 11th annual International Day Human Rights Conference. The conference will be from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. "The Human Right to Food" will be the theme for this year's event.

"We hope to give students in our agriculturally based state new perspectives on the topics of food security and worldwide poverty alleviation," said Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator. "We want to encourage students to think about how decisions made at the local level have global impacts."

Laura Dowd, founder and executive director of Local Foods Connection, will present the keynote address. Dowd has worked for nearly 10 years to improve the health of the people and the environment in her community.

Through the collaboration of hundreds of volunteers, Local Foods Connection, a nonprofit organization, connects small, earth-friendly farmers with low-income individuals. The organization pays farmers a fair price for the safe, healthy food they raise, and donates the food to low-income families that normally would not purchase such fresh, nutritious, locally grown items.

The keynote speech will be followed by interactive small group presentations. Students will discuss numerous topics, including world hunger, ending food waste, the markets of Thailand and Cambodia, and food security around the world.

"This event has sparked many student initiatives for change over the last fourteen years," noted Greg Hamot (left), professor of education in the UI College of Education and faculty sponsor for the event. "When the students return to their schools, I suspect this year's presentations, discussions and activities will enliven many a classroom in Iowa regarding the human right to food."

After the presentations, a catered lunch will be provided to students and their teachers, which will be followed by a large group discussion that includes the showing of the film "The True Cost of Food" led by Maureen McCue, UI adjunct assistant professor in International Programs and former director of the UI Global Health Studies Program. A question and answer period with Dowd and McCue will take place after the film.

International Day invites participants to take part in small- and large-group discussions and activities focused on human rights and international issues, and thereby learn about different cultural, ethnic, racial and socio-economic groups. The event is intended to help students become better global citizens and to develop a greater understanding of -- and respect for -- democracy, equality, cultural differences and human rights.

The conference was planned and sponsored by the following UI offices and departments: the UI College of Education, UI International Programs, UI Center for Human Rights, the UI Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, the UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and the UI Office of Admissions. Additional sponsorship comes from the Stanley Foundation and Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Participating schools include Roosevelt Middle School, Cedar Rapids; Columbus Community Schools, Columbus Junction; Longfellow and Hoover Elementary Schools and North Central Junior High, Iowa City; Glenview Middle School, East Moline, Ill.; West and Central Middle Schools, Muscatine; Oelwein Community School District; Central and Penn Elementary Schools Extended Learning Programs (ELP) Coralville; Harding Middle School, Cedar Rapids; North Cedar School District, Stanwood; Western Dubuque High School, Epworth; Central Academy, Des Moines; Durant Community School; Newton High School; New Hampton High School; Spencer High School; Scattergood High School, West Branch; and Jesup Community School.

The event is free and open to students and teachers. Registration is required as space is limited. To register, contact Teresa Garringer in the UI College of Education at 319-335-6434 or

University of Iowa International Programs 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 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: Buffy Quintero, International Programs, 319-335-0345,; Kelli Andresen, International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Lini Ge