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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 27, 2005

'School Of The Americas Watch' Founder To Speak At UI Oct. 6

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, founder of a watchdog group that monitors U.S. foreign policy activities in Latin America, will speak on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room S401 of Pappajohn Business Building. His talk, "The Struggle for Peace and Justice in Latin America," is part of "Careers for Change," a speaker series sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR).

A sandwich lunch, with desserts supplied by New Pioneer Co-op, will be provided for those who RSVP by Friday, Sept. 30; call 319-335-3900 or send an e-mail to Attendees are also welcome to bring their own lunch if they prefer.

Although the program is designed for undergraduates to learn more about careers in social justice and human rights, the series is free and open to UI faculty, staff and the public.

After college, Bourgeois served in the U.S. military as a naval officer for four years, receiving the Purple Heart during a tour of duty in Vietnam. He then entered the seminary of Maryknoll Missionary Order and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972. Bourgeois worked with the poor in Bolivia for five years. He was eventually arrested and deported for speaking out against Bolivian dictator General Hugo Banzer, a graduate of the School of the Americas, an American-funded military training institution at Fort Benning, Ga.

Bourgeois became an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. In 1990, he founded the School of the Americas Watch, an organization that informs the general public, Congress and the media about the implications of the School of the Americas for the poor of Latin America. The School of the Americas (renamed in 2001 to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) is the U.S. Army's principal Spanish-language training facility for Latin American military personnel. A number of graduates of the School of the Americas, including General Banzer, have been implicated in serious human-rights violations during and following periods of military rule in many Latin American countries.

The Careers for Change talk is one of three that Bourgeois will be giving in eastern Iowa. He will be the guest speaker at the Iowa City Amnesty International's meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., in the Indiana Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. For more information, contact Shajia Ahmad, 319-573-8366, or Maria Hope, 319-354-3277. He also will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids. For more information, please call 319-363-1323.

Other planned topics and speakers for the fall Careers for Change series include:

Nov. 2, 5-7 p.m., Room S401 Pappajohn Building: Mark Grey, "Immigrants in Iowa: Human Rights and Integration Challenges." Grey is director of the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration at the University of Northern Iowa, an award-winning program that provides consultation, training and publications to Iowa communities, churches, organizations and employers to assist them with the unique challenges and opportunities associated with influxes of immigrant and refugee newcomers.

Dec. 1, 5-7 p.m., Room 340, South Commons, Blank Honors Center. Laura Dowd, "From Local Farms to Local Families: Fighting Hunger in Iowa City." Dowd is the president and founder of Local Foods Connection, a non-profit organization that purchases fresh organic produce and meat products from small family farmers and donates these goods to low-income families.

For more information or special accommodations to attend any of these events, contact the UICHR at 319-335-3900 or

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the yearlong UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10, 1948. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the center's mission is to support the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education, and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the state of Iowa, and beyond.

The UICHR is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, 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.

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

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: UI Center for Human Rights, 319-335-3900,; Writer: Julia LaBua