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Release: Immediate

Sri Lankan scholar to discuss 'Travails of an Asian Democracy'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Karuna Dharmadasa of Sri Lanka will discuss "Sri Lanka: The Travails of an Asian Democracy" on Friday, March 21, at the Foreign Relations Council.

The meeting will be at noon at the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. The event is co-sponsored by the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) and the University of Iowa Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS). This program is presented in part with the support of First National Bank.

A lunch will be provided by New Pioneer Co-Op, featuring a choice of shrimp creole with race pilaf or eggplant roulade served on angel hair pesto pasta, as well as a salad of tossed greens and fresh bakehouse bread with herb butter and a beverage. Reservations are $6 for ICFRC members and $8 for non-members and need to be received at the ICFRC office by Wednesday, March 19. Checks can be written to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and mailed to ICFRC, 120 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802. For more information, call ICFRC Executive Director Tom Baldridge at 335-0351. They are unable to take reservations by telephone but last minute adjustments may be made.

For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will broadcast this program Monday, March 24th, following the noon news.

Dharmadasa is one of five foreign scholars at the UI as part of the International Forum for U.S. Studies, a three-year program made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, administered by CICS. The UI was only one of six universities nationwide to receive this type of humanities grant from the foundation.

Each spring from now until the spring of 1999, the forum is hosting five distinguished foreign scholars to participate as forum fellows, so that they may pursue research at the UI on American issues and culture. Fellows are selected each year to further the goals of the forum, that is to promote scholarship by non-U.S. scholars on social and cultural issues shaping or affecting the U.S.

A senior professor of Sinhalese at The University of Peradeniya and theeditor-in-chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia, Dharmadasa has combined his academic work with extensive national service, including service on the Official Language Commission of the Republic of Sri Lanka. His interests range from the sociology of language, to religious and cultural history to tribal culture and writing song lyrics.

Long involved with the debate concerning the establishment of a national language in Sri Lanka, Dharmadasa is turning his expertise to the current controversy over the establishment of a national language while he is a fellow with the International Forum for U.S. Studies at the UI.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit association of persons interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy and world affairs. The goal of the group is to provide members with the opportunity to hear about many of the experts who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area, in order to increase interest in and knowledge about world affairs and international understanding.

From September to June, the ICFRC hosts approximately two meetings per month from noon to 1 p.m. These meeting times allow for participation by business, professional and academic persons as well as other area residents. One meeting is a catered luncheon and speech, held in a convenient downtown location. The other meeting is an informal "Sack Lunch Seminar" featuring UI faculty or other area specialists. The format of these seminars allows for the lively exchange of ideas between presenters and attendees.

ICFRC currently has 180 members. To join the ICFRC, annual membership fees are as follows: general member's dues - $50; household of two persons,$75; and student/visiting scholar - $20.