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University of Iowa News Release

March 8, 2006

Women's Center Sponsors Conference On Race, Privilege And Cultural Competence

Plenary and keynote addresses by sociologist Allan G. Johnson and former Cherokee nation principal chief Wilma Mankiller will highlight the "Race, Privilege and Cultural Competence: Creating Inclusive Communities in a Post-Katrina World," a three-day conference sponsored by the Women's Resource And Action Center (WRAC).

The conference will be held in the University of Iowa's Iowa Memorial Union beginning April 6 and running through April 8. Registration is required to attend the conference; the event is open to the public. In addition, the Saturday plenary and keynote speeches are open to the public.

The conference was planned by WRAC staff members along with students and staff members from a variety of offices and departments across the campus, in response to the reality of the U.S. legacy of racism and regionalism which were laid bare in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"Creating Inclusive Communities" is designed to bring people of varied backgrounds and training together, to develop a common analysis, strengthen individual skills and network across sectors to work together to forge inclusive communities. The conference will integrate nationally recognized keynote speakers, facilitated discussions of conference themes and practical skill-building sessions for participants engaged in community organizations, education, social service and healthcare delivery, and business/industry.

The conference begins on Thursday evening, April 6, with a workshop on "Exploring Privilege and Cultural Competence" led by Diane Finnerty, Director of Training at the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice at the UI. The session will introduce the concepts of cultural competence, power and privilege, and serves as a foundation for the succeeding conference sessions. It will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 335 of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Friday evening, April 7, features a cultural event titled "Arts for Unity" beginning at 7 p.m. in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. Poetry, music, art, dance and food will serve as vehicles for exploration of cultural understanding. Featured performers include Climbing Poetree with Alixa and Naima.

Featured plenary speaker for the conference is sociologist Allan G. Johnson, a writer, teacher and public speaker on issues of privilege, oppression and social inequality. Among his publications are "The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy" and "Privilege, Power, and Difference." His address is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Following the plenary address, the conference will continue with facilitated dialogue groups, a lunch panel discussion and "take it home" planning sessions. The conference will culminate with the keynote address by Wilma Mankiller.

Mankiller served for two years as the first female elected deputy chief and 10 years as the first female principal chief of the 220,000 member Cherokee Nation. Her most recent book is entitled "Every Day is a Good Day." She is also co-author of "Mankiller: A Chief and Her People."  Her keynote address will be given at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Pre-registration is required for the conference; participants may register for any or all three sessions: Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday morning-afternoon. Reduced pricing is available for students, and a limited number of scholarships are available. Registration information is available on the Center's website at

For more information, or to arrange for needed accommodations to participate, call the Women's Center at 319-335-1486.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Linda Kroon or Laurie Haag, 319-335-1486,