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University of Iowa News Release

May 10, 2004

Etre To Speak At International Programs Graduation Celebration May 13

Paul Etre, assistant to the chair in Orthopedic Surgery with University of Iowa Health Care, will give words of inspiration and congratulations to graduates at this year's International Programs Reception and Celebration, Thursday, May 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the International Center Lounge.

His address, "The American Dream Revisited," will start at 4:30 p.m. Etre will share his own experiences coming to the United States as an international student from Lebanon and how this has impacted his entire life.

In the midst of the current controversy in Iraq and the swelling anti-American sentiments being felt in many different parts of the world, Etre will share with students what first drew him to America -- the values, principles and ideals -- as well as the desire to further his education. He will reminisce on what the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Constitution and the American flag meant to him -- and how he still believes that despite "one incident, war or mistake, America is too big to be drawn down by one thing."

For those students who are returning to their home countries, Etre wants to remind them of all the positive experiences they've had here -- the education, the friendships and the positive values. He will also encourage students to hold those things dearly as they go forth in the world to contribute to the global community, whether in science, medicine, education, engineering or journalism.

Since Etre's parents were Christian evangelists, his family traveled a great deal. They lived in Gaza for 10 years when he was a youngster in an American hospital in downtown Gaza City. Most medical and nursing staff were American missionaries, and this is where he attained his love for America.

"My obsessive goal as a teenager in Lebanon was to come to the U.S.A. My dad was poor. His currency was prayer," Etre says. So in May 1964 at age 17, with no money in his pocket, but with a scholarship from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., his dream was fulfilled.

Etre was supposed to go back to Lebanon after one year. But he liked it so much here that he transferred to the Minnesota State University in Mankato where he earned his bachelor's, master's and a specialist in administration degree. This is also where he met his wife.

Etre has worked at the UI for the past 26 years, and currently serves as assistant to the chair in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Etre also serves on the UI Human Rights Council as the chair of the subcommittee on international student issues.

More than 300 UI students have been invited to the reception. This includes graduating international students as well as both international and domestic students who are international and global studies students.

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) 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.

The International Center is located at the end of Ferson Avenue in Iowa City, off of Park Road or by foot up the stairway from Riverside Drive.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The International Programs Reception and Celebration provide many visual opportunities since parents and friends of graduating students often attend. If you are interested in covering the event, profiling an interesting international student or doing a feature on Etre, please call Lois Gray at 319-335-2026.

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

CONTACT(S): Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Helen Jameson, 319-335-3584.