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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 26, 2008

Universal Declaration of Human Rights commemorated at UI conference Dec. 5-7

James Leach, former Republican Congressman from Iowa and John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs and Company Visiting Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University, will deliver a keynote speech at "Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," a University of Iowa International Programs Major Projects conference coordinated by the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR).

The conference will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with scholarly presentations, roundtable discussions, film screenings, student workshops and additional events on the UI campus Friday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 7. Leach's keynote lecture will take place at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber on the University of Iowa campus. All events are free and open to the public.

The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948. It sets forth inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms for all people. The declaration arose directly from the experience of World War II and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. The document is foundational to international human rights as they have developed since World War II. The UDHR and the human rights that are articulated in the document, however, are the subject of contestation, challenge and evolution, and the colloquium will provide opportunities to explore the UDHR from a variety of perspectives.

UI Executive Vice President and Provost Wallace Loh will open the colloquium at 10 a.m. Leach's speech and a question-and-answer session will be followed by Loh's presentation of the 2008 Courage of Conviction Award to Leach.

"We are pleased to welcome Jim Leach back to the University of Iowa to share his insights on human rights in American foreign policy as we enter this historic transition to a new presidential administration," said Amy Weismann, UICHR deputy director.

A career public servant and a Princeton graduate, Leach served for 15 terms in the U.S. Congress representing eastern Iowa, from 1977 to 2007. Leach also served as chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the House Committee on International Relations, and chairman of the House Banking Committee, from 1995 to 2001.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the Human Rights Program at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), will provide the closing keynote for the colloquium at 7:30 p.m. Sat. Dec. 6 in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber.

Other speakers at the colloquium include Micheline Ishay, professor and director of the International Human Rights Program at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver and Karen Engle, Cecil D. Redford Professor in Law and Director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas. For a complete conference schedule visit

Some of the other events related to the conference include:

--"Know the Score Live," a radio broadcast featuring a panel about human rights and torture in conjunction with Daniel Heyman exhibition, from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber.

--Screening of the film "Soldiers of Conscience" followed by a facilitated discussion from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building.

--An informal luncheon attended by Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights Internship Awardees from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2520 D University Capitol Centre.

--A special vocal performance by Katherine Eberle, a renowned soloist and faculty member in the UI School of Music in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at 7 p.m. Saturday Dec. 6, in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber.

The conference will also mark the launch of "The Articles in Art," a contest open to all UI students calling for the production of studio art expressing and exploring the meaning of the articles or an article in the UDHR as selected by the artist. The contest will result in the exhibition of select pieces in fall 2009 and cash awards for the top selections.

The conference is co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, Iowa Division; the United Nations Association - USA, Iowa Division; the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council; and the UI College of Law. Students may register for the event on ISIS and receive one credit hour for their participation. For more information on this opportunity and the requirements for credit, visit

For more information on the conference or special accommodations, contact Weismann at

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Weismann, 319-335-3900,; Kelli Andresen, UI International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Lini Ge