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Release: April 6, 2000

Community invited to register for global violence conference April 14-16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violence saturates all levels of society domestically and internationally, leaving many people concerned, fearful or angry, and looking for answers. A three-day conference at the UI will explore issues of global violence as well as provide participants with suggestions to help reverse this alarming epidemic.

"Violence, Shredding Social Fabrics, Destroying Global Health," is the theme of a three-day conference April 14-16 at the Iowa Memorial Union. The conference is open to all students, faculty, staff and interested members of the community and is sponsored by the Global Health Studies Program at the University of Iowa.

Registered students who participate in the entire event from 1 p.m. Friday, April 14 through noon April 16, will receive one credit. The conference is geared towards human rights activists, nurses, social workers, primary care physicians, public health specialists and other concerned citizens.

Speakers and participants will explore the complexities embedded in the epidemic of public and private violence threatening social and personal health globally, according to Maureen McCue, M.D., GHSP director and conference organizer. "This unusual and dynamic conference is both international and interdisciplinary in scope and will combine presentations from academics, feminists, peace activists, and policy makers with experience from around the world. Conference participants will attend panels and breakout sessions, view films, and hold small group discussions over meals as they focus on the many manifestations of private and workplace violence reflecting the dominant public culture of violence," McCue said.

The conference will kick off with a keynote address by Scott Nathanson, executive director of Citizens for a Responsible Budget, a Washington, D.C. based advocacy group working to strengthen national and social security by preserving the budget surplus to strengthen Social Security and Medicare. He will speak on "Violence and Suffering: Exposing, Linking, and Working Against Root Causes," Friday, April 14 at 1 p.m. in the IMU Main Ballroom. His address is free and open to the public.

Nathanson has eight years of experience in government and public advocacy work, beginning as the first Kate Sherman Peace and Environmental Fellow with 20/20 Vision. He has been published in dozens of major newspapers across the country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Houston Chronicle on subjects such as U.S. Weapons Sales to Africa and Indonesia, Uncontrolled U.S. Military Spending, U.S. landmines policy in Korea, and the burgeoning arms race in Latin America.

Conference organizers wish to encourage open and lively dialogue; therefore all panel presentations will be followed by small group breakout sessions. Speakers and conference participants are also encouraged to dine together so that discussions can be furthered in more personal settings.

The conference features two disturbing films exploring the frightening plight of women and children in many parts of the world. The Saturday evening banquet will be followed by a showing and discussion of the Indian Film, "Saalom Bombay." In this film the viewer follows the sad struggles of a child living on the streets and a young prostitute he befriends who, along with a number of their acquaintances, attempts to survive in a violent and uncaring world.

The final panel of the conference will investigate creative and novel recommendations for reversing the epidemic of global violence.

By participating in this conference on global violence, attendees will become familiar with the many hidden forms of domestic violence at home and abroad. Participants will also be able to identify a number of inherently dangerous and violent worker situations, including the various forms of abusive child labor, often overlooked in national labor statistics. Several of the many social
co-factors that promote situations of domestic and workplace violence will be explored, as well as the role of costly regional and international weapons development and trade in promoting and sustaining situations of domestic, workplace, and international violence. Fortunately, by the end, conference participants will also be familiar with various local, regional, and international educational and academic programs and NGOs working effectively to identify, respond to and end domestic, workplace, and international violence.

Representatives of various campus groups will be on hand outside the conference rooms to inform interested participants of ways they can become involved in activities to end global domestic violence, violent working conditions, and the marketing of dangerous products. The conference will also sponsor a book sale, with the help of the Iowa Memorial Union bookstore staff, featuring selections relevant to the conference content.

Other conference sponsors include: The UI College of Medicine, Environmental Health Science Research Center, the Injury Prevention Research Center, International Programs, Student Health Services, the UI Center for Human Rights, the UI Health Policy Center, the Iowa Medical Society and University of Northern Iowa Global Health.

The deadline for registering for the conference is April 12, although walk-in registrations will be accepted. There is a nominal cost to register, which covers continuing education units, meals and course packets. For more information or to register, call the Global Health Studies Program office at (319) 335-2825, or Jo Dickens at the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes at (319) 335-4159.