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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 2, 2005

IWP Presents Special Two-Part Panel Discussion On Islam Sept. 14-15

The University of Iowa International Writing Program will present a special two-part panel discussion about contemporary issues in the dialogue between the West and the Islamic world at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14 in Meeting Room A in the Iowa City Public Library and at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Cowles Library at Drake University in Des Moines.

The "Islam and We" discussions will feature Ameena Hussein (Sri Lanka), Jae-Hyun Yoo (Korea), Nadia Abduljabbar (Saudi Arabia) and Nihad Sirees (Syria) in Iowa City; and Josef Haslinger (Austria) Yvonne Adhiambo (Tanzania), Zahiye Kundus (Israel), Said El Haji (The Netherlands) and Sherko Fatah (Germany) in Des Moines.

Biographies of the writers are accessible at

Through the IWP, 36 writers from 29 countries will be members of the UI community for the next three months. The IWP introduces talented writers to American life, enables them to take part in American university life, and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. Since 1967, more a thousand writers from more than 120 countries have attended the IWP, including poets, fiction writers, dramatists, screenwriters and non-fiction writers.

The IWP, which functions as a United Nations of writers, stresses the common interests of writers everywhere, in an atmosphere that puts political differences into perspective. For writers who live under repressive regimes, the IWP has provided an unprecedented opportunity to write, speak and interact freely.

The importance of the IWP to international understanding was recognized as early as 1976, when former senator, diplomat and UN Ambassador Averrill Harriman nominated founders Paul and Hualing Nieh Engle for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1995 the program was honored with the Governor's Award for distinguished service to the State of Iowa.

Nearly four decades of residencies have enabled the IWP to accumulate an unparalleled collection of resources on international literature, which have been organized in a library in the Shambaugh House. The IWP remains in contact with former participants, creating an unprecedented literary and intellectual network without national boundaries.

The IWP is staffed and housed by the UI. IWP writers are financed through bilateral agreements with numerous countries; by grants given by cultural institutions and governments abroad; and by private funds that are donated by a variety of American corporations, foundations and individuals. The activities of the IWP are assisted financially by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural  Affairs of the United States Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended.

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