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Release: April 4, 2001

UN official to address European environmental challenges April 12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Bedrich Moldan, chair of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, has spent many years involved in international environmental diplomacy.

He will present a global perspective of current environmental issues speaking from his experiences with "Environmental Challenges to Central and Eastern European Economies in Transition." His lecture is Thursday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Terrace Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The lecture will be followed by a reception, both of which are free and open to the public.

Moldan's talk is the third in the International Programs Distinguished Lecture Series, which is coordinated by the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council with support from International Programs and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization. The series includes distinguished scholars and environmentalists from the Czech Republic, India, Nicaragua and the United States who are visiting the University of Iowa this spring to discuss, "A Challenge for the 21st Century: Economic Development and Environmental Protection."

Moldan is also director of the Environmental Studies Center and Professor of Environmental Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He is also chief negotiator for environment, science and education in the Czech Republic's delegation for accession to the European Union (EU), spent many years working with the Geological Survey of Prague. He explains that the Czech Republic's transition from an oppressive, centrally planned regime to an open, democratic, and free market situation has posed obstacles in formulating a new society.

"Some people insist that the process is essentially completed, but I do not believe that is true. We have indeed changed most of the laws and other rules, but the most essential and difficult task, the transition of the people, and the transition of their thinking, is far from being completed," Moldan said.

The first Minister for the Environment appointed in the Czech Republic, Moldan's special interests include chemistry, geochemistry and biochemistry.

UI programs, departments and centers co-sponsoring the Distinguished Lecture series include: the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, Center for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, Center for Human Rights, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, Global Studies, Latin American Studies, South Asian Studies, and Global Health Studies. For more information about the lectures or for special accommodations to participate in this program, call the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council at (319) 335-0351.

Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is part of UI 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.