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University News Services

Jan. 13, 2005

UI Community Invited To Asian Tsunami Vigil On Jan. 20

Members of the University of Iowa community are invited to a vigil remembering the thousands of people killed by the tsunami that struck South Asia and Africa, and to support those who will help heal, rebuild and renew life in the affected countries. "A Vigil for the Victims and Survivors of the Tsunami Disaster" will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, at Old Brick Church and Community Center, 20 E. Market St., Iowa City.

During the vigil UI President David Skorton will make remarks and spiritual leaders -- including those of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish beliefs -- will deliver expressions of faith. Students from several of the affected countries will also share their thoughts on the tragedy.

Participants will be asked to wear a white ribbon, a symbol of mourning in several Asian countries, and to write messages of support, which will be displayed on campus and ultimately sent to the embassies of the affected countries.

"Watching the news each night is a heart-breaking experience, as we hear the personal accounts of parents who lost their children or children who have been left orphans, people who have seen their entire village, school, business or home wiped out," said Diana Davies, director of UI International Programs, one of the vigil's co-organizers. "But if there is any bright spot or reason to be hopeful that can be found in the midst of this horror, it is reflected in the incredible outpouring of support we have seen here, locally, throughout the country and throughout the world."

Individuals of all abilities are welcome to the vigil. To arrange for special accommodations, or for more information on this event, please contact Davies at, or 319-335-0371. For more information on the university community's response to the tragedy, visit

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.

The vigil is jointly organized by staff from International Programs and the following members of the UI community: Campus Ministries, student volunteers from Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and representatives from the UI Graduate Student Senate, the UI Student Government, the Global Issues Network, the Thai Student Association, the Turkish Student Organization, the Organization for Active Support of International Students, and the International Crossroads Community.

Other groups fundraising on campus and in the community for tsunami relief: the Asian-American Law Student Association, UI Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa Cares: Asian Tsunami Disaster Fund, the Iowa City/Coralville Community Challenge, the Iowa United Nations Association, and NGOX: The International Exchange for Nongovernmental Organizations.

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

CONTACTS: Media: Amy Green, 319-335-1433,; Program: Diana Davies, 319-335-0371,; Writer: Po Li Loo