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Release: Immediate

Dith Pran to speak to Foreign Relations Council about "Killing Fields" Oct. 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dith Pran, the Cambodian journalist whose life was portrayed in the award-winning movie "The Killing Fields" will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council Wednesday, Oct. 28 about his wartime experiences. His presentation, "Surviving the Killing Fields," begins at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. and is open to the public.

Pran and Sydney Schanberg, then a "New York Times" correspondent, covered the encroaching civil war in Cambodia from 1972 to 1975. While Americans and Cambodian dependents were evacuated from Phnom Penh on April 12, 1975, Pran and Schanberg stayed to cover the fall of the capital to the Khmer Rouge. Pran, Schanberg, and two other journalists were arrested by the Khmer Rouge and held for execution. Pran saved their lives by persuading the Khmer Rouge that the three Westerners were neutral French journalists. Released, the four took refuge in the French Embassy.

Exiled to the killing fields, Pran endured four years of starvation and torture. In 1976, Schanberg received a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Cambodia, and he accepted the award for himself and Pran, who escaped to Thailand in October 1979.

The deadline to register for Pran's presentation is Monday, Oct. 26. Taste of China will cater the lunch and the cost is $6.50 for members and $8 for non-members. There is no charge for those who bring their own lunches. 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 phone but last minute adjustments may be made.

For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will carry this program Thursday, Oct. 29, following the noon news.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the Associate Provost and Dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.