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Release: Sept. 10, 2002

Discussion Forums Planned For 'All Johnson County Reads The Same Book'

All those participating in the second annual local reading program, "All Johnson County Reads the Same Book," are invited to attend any of the 14 community forums located throughout the county in October and November.

This county-wide reading project sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and a variety of community and university groups is open to anyone interested in broadening their understanding of human rights by reading "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers" by Loung Ung.

Written in a child's voice, the book recounts in stark detail the horrors that Ung and her family suffered under the Pol Pot regime of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, which, through starvation, disease, forced labor, torture, and execution, systematically killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979.

A planning committee chose the book last spring and the project runs from Sept. 22 to Nov.15. This project has been planned to coincide with the Iowa City Public Library Intellectual Freedom Festival and the Engle Literary Festival, Sept. 22. On Oct. 8, Chivy Sok, UICHR deputy director and a native of Cambodia, will speak on "Freedom in Cambodia" from noon-1 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A.

A schedule of the community forums, which are all free and open to the public, follows:

Oct. 8: 6-8 p.m. --The Java House, 211 1/2 Washington St. (Facilitator: Joyce Carman)

Oct. 10: 2-4 p.m. -- Iowa City Senior Center, 28 S. Linn St., Room G08 (Facilitator: Joyce Carman), co-sponsored by the Iowa City Senior Center

Oct. 14: 7-9 p.m. -- Uptown Bill's Coffee Shop, 401S.Gilbert St. (Facilitator: Elizabeth Azoff)

Oct. 15: 7:30-9:30 p.m. -- Northside Book Market, 203 N. Linn St. (Facilitator: Elizabeth Azoff)

Oct. 16: 2 p.m. -- Oaknoll Retirement Residence, Sixth Floor Lounge, 701 Oaknoll Drive (Facilitator: Sam Becker)

Oct. 17: 7 p.m. -- Coralville Public Library, E. Jean Schwab Room (Facilitator: Elizabeth Azoff)

Oct. 21: 7 p.m. -- North Liberty Community Library, 520 W. Cherry St., Community Center Meeting Room A (Facilitator: Jennie Garner)

Oct. 21: 6:30-8:30 p.m. -- Wild Bill's Coffee Shop, UI North Hall (Facilitator: Elizabeth Azoff)

Oct. 23: 7 p.m. -- Solon Public Library, 320 W. Main St., Library Meeting Room (Facilitators: Kris Brown and the Solon Reading Club)

Oct. 25: 1 p.m. -- Iowa City Public Library, Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Meeting Room A (Facilitator: Burns Weston)

Oct. 27: 6-8 p.m. -- Terrapin Coffee, 1150 Fifth St., Suite 130, Coralville (Facilitator: Chivy Sok)

Oct. 27: 7 p.m. -- The Java House, 713 Mormon Trek Blvd. (Facilitator: Elizabeth Azoff)

Oct. 29: 7 p.m. -- West High School Library, Room 116, 2901 Melrose Ave. (Facilitators: Beth Belding, Carolyn VanZante and Kerri Potter), with 100 West High students participating in the project.

Nov. 4: 7 - 8:30 p.m. -- City High School Learning Media Center Library, 1900 Morningside Drive (Facilitator: Randy Brown), with 120 City High School students reading portions of the book in four World History-People class periods during the day. The evening forum offers one-on-one student conversations with parents and the general public.

For additional information on these forums, contact Dorothy M. Paul, UICHR associate director for community affairs at 338-1230 or For details about the overall project, consult the Web site for the UI Center for Human Rights at where pertinent discussion notes and questions are posted. For the opportunity to participate in an on-line interactive discussion of the book, visit

The All Johnson County Reads the Same Book project was initiated in 2001 by the UI Center for Human Rights, The UI International Writing Program, and Prairie Lights Books. Each are co-sponsoring the project again this year together with Hancher Auditorium, the UI Charter Committee on Human Rights, UI International Programs, the University Book Store, Iowa Book LLC, the Coralville Public Library, the Iowa City Public Library, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission, and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Iowa City High School and the West High School Library are also formal participants in the project.