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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 1, 2004

Baldridge To Address Citizen Diplomacy At Dec. 6 International Mondays

Thomas Baldridge, executive director of the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC), will speak on how individuals can make a difference globally. "The Importance of Citizen Diplomacy" lecture will be from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6 in the International Center Lounge on the University of Iowa campus as part of the International Mondays lecture series.

This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided. This is the last International Mondays lecture this academic year. The series will resume in February.

CIVIC members host international visitors invited by United States embassies to take part in the International Visitor Program (IVP). When a visit includes eastern Iowa, CIVIC arranges for professional consultations and field trips to industrial, scientific, educational and business facilities. Visitors are also invited to participate in the social and cultural life of communities in the Iowa City area through home hospitality, sightseeing, cultural and recreational events. Current world leaders who have participated in the IVP include Tony Blair, Anwar Sadat and Oscar Arias.

CIVIC is a member of the National Council for International Visitors. The group is one of approximately 97 similar organizations that host and coordinate visits by guests of the U.S. State Department and several other agencies for international cultural and educational exchange. Annually, 4,500 international visitors visit the U.S., and 200 foreign heads of government have participated in the program since its inception in 1941.

Baldridge has served as executive director of CIVIC since 1987. He also serves as the executive director of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC). Baldridge graduated from the UI in 1952 with a bachelor of arts in French and pursued graduate work in international studies. He served in the Korean War from 1953-1954. He later worked with the American Foreign Service, serving as a foreign service officer in Washington D.C., Switzerland, Algeria and Laos over the span of his career.

"Citizen diplomacy is important in shaping how countries interact with one another," Baldridge said. "By developing cultural understanding between people from our country and others, we can empathize and treat people better."

CIVIC president Kenneth Hubel said he changed a visitor's perception of the United States while taking him to and from the Iowa State Fair. "When my wife Jan and I left our Moroccan visitor and his translator at the hotel, our visitor told us that his experience in Iowa City had changed his negative views about our country and its people," said Hubel.

For more information on this lecture or International Mondays, contact Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator, at 319-335-0345.

CIVIC is a non-profit organization supported by UI International Programs. The organization received funds from the National Council for International Visitors and the UI but depends chiefly on its members, interested donors and businesses for financial support.

The International Mondays series is sponsored by UI International Programs and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization and presents discussions with individuals who have had international experiences. The lectures are usually from noon to 1 p.m. every Monday in the International Center Lounge or other locations on campus throughout the academic year with the exception of holidays and breaks.

UI International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean of international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and the community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Buffy Quintero, 319-335-0345; Writer: Po Li Loo