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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 10, 2009

UI College of Education International Day features 'Human Right to Know' Nov. 17

Students from across Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will get a chance to discover new aspects about Woodstock, the Holocaust and education in Cambodia at this year's University of Iowa International Day.

The 13th annual event will focus on "The Human Right to Know," and give nearly 300 middle school students an opportunity to learn the issues surrounding the right to information and education. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville. Registration is currently full. The UI College of Education and the Stanley Foundation are main sponsors.

"Children are bombarded with things from the media and community," said Teresa Garringer, a program assistant for the UI College of Education. "They need to be told the truth, but what is the truth?"

The theme is based upon Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A slate of speakers, including University of Iowa graduate students and professors, will hold presentations during two interactive breakout sessions, where students choose from 15 different programs.

Highlights of these small-group presentations include Cambodian schools, human rights in the news around the world, world languages and the new Oakdale Community Choir and how it provides a mean for prisoners to express themselves though poetry, writing and singing.

This year's large-group keynote speaker is Dean Jacobs (photo, left), a former businessman who, propelled by a desire to understand the world, has explored over 45 countries on a low budget since 2001. When he is not busy traveling, Jacobs is a contributing newspaper columnist, photojournalist, and a keynote speaker. He will address the students at 9 a.m.

Joan Kjaer, senior communications advisor with UI International Programs, will conduct the large group session from 1 to 2 p.m. titled, "The New World of Media and Reporting: How Do You Know What to Believe."

"This session is important for students to have because there is such an explosion of information in the digital age," said Gregory Hamot, UI professor of secondary social studies education in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the University of Iowa College of Education. "It's the right to know information and the right to know whether the information is any good." Hamot, who is the faculty sponsor of the event, is also the director of the UI Center for Human Rights.

While students in the United States have a right to know whether the information they are receiving is correct, Hamot said participants will get a chance to learn more about other countries and societies where the government strictly controls the information that is released to the public.

International Day, in general, provides children with an opportunity to experience material not normally found in the classroom curriculum, Hamot said.

"It gives them a chance to see a very important part of knowing both at home and abroad," Hamot said. "The issue of human rights pervades virtually every subject area."

Along with the UI College of Education and the Stanley Foundation, the conference is co-sponsored by the following UI offices and departments: the UI College of Education, the UI Office of Admissions, UI International Programs, the UI College of Education Diversity Committee, the UI Belin-Blank Center, and the UI Center for Human Rights. Additional sponsorship comes from The Stanley Foundation and the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Schools participating include the following: Columbus Junction Middle School, Columbus Junction; Longfellow and Hoover Elementary Schools, Iowa City; Glenview Middle School, East Moline, Ill.; West Middle School, Muscatine; Central Middle School, serving students in DeWitt, Grand Mount, Low Moore and Welton, Iowa; St. James School, in Washington, Iowa; Oelwein Middle School in Oelwein, Iowa; Franklin Middle School, McKinley Middle School, Harding Middle School and Roosevelt Middle School, Cedar Rapids; Durant Middle School; and Jesup Middle School.

For more information about International Day, visit

For more information or a complete schedule of events, contact Garringer in the UI College of Education at 319-335-6289 or

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Greg Hamot, College of Education,; Teresa Garringer, College of Education, 319-335-0345,; Lois Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Ashton Shurson