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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 5, 2006

Related story:

Human Rights Watch Executive Lectures On Human Rights Careers Oct. 10

This fall, the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights will again sponsor the "Careers for Change" lecture series, a group of talks designed to introduce students to careers in social justice and human rights. The second talk of the series will feature Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch, Africa Division, speaking on "Careers in the International Human Rights Field" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the International Commons, Room 1117, in the University Capitol Centre.

While the talks are geared toward students interested in post-graduation careers in human rights-related fields, the series is free and open to UI faculty, staff and the public.

As director, Takirambudde heads and has vastly enlarged the organizations strategic efforts and takes part in numerous consultations with policy officials, government leaders, and international organizations. A former professor of law at the University of Botswana, he received a doctorate from Yale University and a bachelor's degree from Makerere University in Uganda. The UI African Studies Program, UI Center for Human Rights and UI International Programs are sponsoring his visit.

The lecture series will continue with the following:

--7 p.m. Oct. 18, Phil Mears, "Why Defend Prisoners? The Importance of Prisoners Rights," in the International Commons, Room 1117, University Capitol Centre. Mears is an Iowa City attorney who has worked extensively to not only free prisoners, but also to improve the conditions of the prisons in which they are held.

--7 p.m. Nov. 9, David Bedell and Michelle Yehieli, "Helping the Underserved: Problems in Immigrant Health Care," in the International Commons, Room 1117, University Capitol Centre. Bedell, an assistant professor of family medicine, was a medical doctor volunteer in El Salvador for eight years before coming to Iowa. He presently directs the Lone Tree Family practice Center, which provides health care to at-risk populations, especially immigrants and the rural elderly. Yehieli is an associate professor in the Division of Health Promotion and Education at the University of Northern Iowa and is currently the executive director of the Iowa EXPORT Center of Excellence on Health Disparities, which seeks to improve health equity for underserved populations.

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 International Programs, which enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

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: Amy Weismann, 319-335-0483 or Liz Crooks, UICHR, at 319-335-3900; Writer Eashaan Vajpeyi