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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 8, 2010

UI College of Education International Day features ‘Human Right to Well-Being’ Nov. 16

Middle school students from across Iowa and eastern Illinois will have a chance to see an Afro-Cuban drum and dance performance, participate in human rights presentations, and address the latest issues in health and well-being at the annual University of Iowa International Day. The one-day event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Coralville.

The theme for the 14th annual event is "The Human Right to Well-Being," and more than 300 middle-school students from 13 different schools are registered to attend. The UI College of Education, in collaboration with UI International Programs and the Stanley Foundation, are the main sponsors for the event. The conference is designed to educate students on topics related to local and global human rights issues.

“Students at a young age may not be as aware of their human rights until they get older, but our hope is to educate them now to enrich their awareness at an early age,” said Teresa Garringer, co-coordinator for the event and program assistant for the UI College of Education.

This year’s theme was derived from Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each year the theme is chosen to match one of the United Nation’s 30 articles. UI graduate students and professors will lead two one-hour breakout sessions. During each hour, students choose from 15 possible presentations.

International Day gives the students an opportunity to see the outside world and experience learning that may not normally be covered in classroom curricula, said Gregory Hamot, co-coordinator and UI professor of social studies education in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Youjia Hua, UI assistant professor of special education, will give the keynote address at 9 a.m. titled, “No Children Left Behind in China.” Hua was born and raised in Shanghai, China. After his graduation from Shanghai University, he came to the U.S. and earned his master’s degree in special education from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., and a doctorate from the Pennsylvania State University.

His research involves academic and behavioral intervention for students with learning and behavioral difficulties. He continues to collaborate with special education agencies in China and currently serves on the board of directors at the Shanghai Ai Hao Autism Training Center.

“I think our keynote speaker will provide very interesting insights for the students to see how things are done in different parts of the world. It will expand their horizons as to what the rest of the world is like and give them a comparative basis for their own lives,” Hamot said. “By introducing them to issues, problems and trends globally with regard to human rights, they get an idea that the world is not this way everywhere.”

Some presentation highlights include a theatre performance opportunity for students with disabilities to perform with peers, a human rights presentation that looks at defining and protecting rights, the well-being and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) students, and much more.

James Dreier, accompanied by two others, will lead the UI Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble in a demonstration of Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms, dance and song over the lunch break. The ensemble, part of the UI Division of Performing Arts, will perform both secular and sacred pieces. Dreier and his colleagues will share their experiences in Cuba, and describe why Cuban music is significant for American music and culture.

Participants will be encouraged to play some of the instruments, sing along and test out the dance steps presented.

For more details on these presentations, see

To view the complete schedule, see

The event will wrap up with James Stachowiak, associate director of the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research in the UI College of Education, giving a closing presentation about the latest advancing technologies and what impacts these assistive technologies mean for people with disabilities.

Students from the following schools will attend: Columbus Junction; Longfellow, Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD), Hoover, ICCSD; Glenview Middle School in East Moline, Ill; West and Central Middle Schools in Muscatine; McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids; St. James School in Washington; Oelwein Middle School in Oelwein; Franklin Middle School in Cedar Rapids; Jesup Middle School in Jesup; Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids; Harding Middle School in Cedar Rapids: and North Central Junior High in North Liberty, ICCSD.

Other International Day sponsors include the UI Office of Admissions, UI International Programs and UI Center for Human Rights, UI Belin-Blank Center in the UI College of Education and the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

For more information, contact Hamot at 319-335-5382 or

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Teresa Garringer, College of Education, 319-335-6289 or 319-541-2119 (cell),; Greg Hamot, College of Education, 319-335-5382,; Lois Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Tiffany Hung