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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 4, 2005

Burmese Writer And Activist Speaks On Solitary Confinement Oct. 11

Ma Thida, a fiction writer and activist from Burma who is part of the 2005 International Writing Program (IWP), will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council about her personal trials and tribulations on Tuesday, Oct. 11. The luncheon talk, "A Story from Burma," will begin at noon in the Rockwood Fellowship Hall, Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City.

This fiction writer and activist was attending medical school when Burma's military junta shut down all of the country's universities. She then served as the league's health care provider as well as editor for the non-violent National League for Democracy. She was put in solitary confinement and denied access to reading or writing materials from 1993 to 1999 after several of her short stories containing disguised criticism of the Burmese government were published. She was pardoned and released on humanitarian grounds in 1999, and currently serves as a surgeon at the Muslim Free Hospital, which provides treatment for the Myanmar poor at no cost.

This program is made possible with the support of A Bella Vista Bed & Breakfast and University of Iowa Community Credit Union. This event will be catered by Masala. For those unable to attend, WSUI (AM-910) will broadcast the lecture on Wednesday Oct. 12 following the noon news.

Send reservations forms with a check to: ICFRC, 140 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1802. Reservation for the Ma Thida luncheon should be received in the office by noon, Friday, Oct. 9. Reservations are $7 for members and $8.50 for non-members. For more information on this program, the ICFRC or special accommodations to attend this lecture, please contact Tom Baldridge at 319-335-0351.

ICFRC is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects, and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean of 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: Tom Baldridge, 319-335-0351,; Writer: Erin Vaughn