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University of Iowa News Release

July 19, 2004

(Editors note: Kailash Satyarthi will be available at the Sheraton Hotel Johnson Room 3 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 26, to answer questions or meet with the press.)

Internationally Renowned Child Labor Advocate To Speak In Iowa City July 26

Teachers are a key to ensuring that the fight to end child labor remains a priority for generations to come. Internationally renowned child labor activist Kailash Satyarthi will speak to teachers and others committed to the eradication of exploitative child labor on Monday, July 26 at 7 p.m. in the Amos Dean Ballroom of the Iowa City Sheraton Hotel. Satyarthi's talk is free and open to the public, but seating is limited to the first 300 people. To reserve seating, contact Girija Mahajan at the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR), 319-335-3900.

Satyarthi is the founder and chairperson of Global March Against Child Labor and the convener of the Children's World Congress Against Child Labor, held in May in Florence, Italy. His keynote address is part of a Child Labor Research Initiative National Conference on "Teaching Child Labor in the Classroom," which will bring an estimated 40 teachers from across the nation to Iowa City July 26-27 to learn about educating K-12 students about child labor.

A global leader, Satyarthi has emancipated more than 40,000 people during the last decade. According to the International Labor Organization, an estimated 246 million of those children work in exploitative and abusive conditions rather than going to school. They are forced to work as child prostitutes, in brick factories, mines, domestic servitude, leather tanning shops, armed conflict and other abusive circumstances.

Satyarthi will discuss these inhumane practices, which he says continue to grow in many parts of the world. He will also explore the powerful role that teachers can play as catalysts of social change -- by educating the next generation about ways to help eradicate abusive child labor.

"This conference is a unique and important opportunity for classroom teachers from across the United States to network and learn from a distinguished international panel as well as from each other about teaching the complexities of child labor in the classroom setting," said Chivy Sok, conference convener and deputy director of the UI Center for Human Rights. "The impact of an effective curriculum is seen in Iowa City as many of its elementary and junior high students who benefited from such efforts last year will offer their skills and expertise as conference participants."

This talk is made possible through a collaborative effort by the UICHR, UI Labor Center, the UI College of Education, UI International Programs, International Center on Child Labor and Education, the American Federation of Teachers and the Child Labor Coalition.

"We are extremely fortunate to welcome such a distinguished advocate to Iowa, an individual who has changed the landscape of international child labor activism," Sok said. "Kailash's personal and professional commitment to social justice has inspired countless people and organizations all over the globe to work toward a more humane world that ensures the rights of all the children. He is human proof that one person can cause rippling global effects for the betterment of humanity."

Satyarthi's dedication to eradicating exploitive child labor practices comes at heavy cost to personal safety, Sok says. In June 2004, he and other activists were attacked during a raid intended to free children from an Indian circus. Local government officials, who were supposed to be helping the group, instead joined circus workers in what amounted to a violent ambush. The Indian government has not taken any legal action against its employees, and it has not offered any assistance in rescuing the children and parents who are held hostage. Now in stable condition following a hospital stay, Satyarthi has made it clear that his commitment to eliminate abusive child labor conditions is stronger than ever.

Global March Against Child Labor is the single largest civil society movement of more than 2000 international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and trade unions in about 140 countries working to assist child laborers and end abusive practices. Satyarthi is also chair of the International Center on Child Labor and Education, a Washington D.C.-based policy institution dedicated to bringing grassroots perspective to the U.S. policy domain. Satyarthi is the architect of the first internationally recognized child labor free social labeling system, "Rugmark," and he is the recipient of several prestigious international awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (1995), Trumpeter Award (1995), the Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Award (2002) and ABC News "Person of the Week" (2004).

More information on Satyarthi can be found on the Global March Against Child Labor web site at: .

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability and require accommodations in order to participate, contact Girija Mahajan at 319-335-3900.

International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic program and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and 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: Girija Mahajan, UICHR, 319-335-3900