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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 23, 2006

Photo: Sonia Gunderson and actors on the set of The Journals of Knud Rasmussen. Photo courtesy of Sonia Gunderson

Lessons From The Inuit Focus Of Oct. 30 International Mondays

"Learning to See and Other Lessons from the Inuit" will be the focus of The International Monday lecture series from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 30 in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library. Sonia Gunderson, a UI masters student in professional journalism, will give the lecture, which is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

During the depths of an Iowa winter, some wonder how the Inuit, who migrated to the Arctic more than 4,000 years ago, managed to flourish in the harshest environment on earth, Gunderson said. In 2000, drawn by her own curiosity about these nomadic people, she and a handful of others ventured to Canada's Arctic Circle to canoe a wilderness river, camp at national parks and visit artists throughout Baffin Island. Since then, she has returned to the Arctic twice on magazine assignments, camping with an Inuit film crew on the land, traveling by dog sled, exploring ancient sod houses and meeting with elders and artists in modern settlements. In her presentation, Gunderson will share slides of her trips and a handful of lessons she has learned from these remarkable people.

"It has been a rare privilege and an amazing education," Gunderson says of her study of the Inuit.

Gunderson is a regular contributor to the "Inuit Art Quarterly" and "Above & Beyond," an in-flight magazine. She plans to return to the Inuit community of Igloolik in January for the annual "Return of the Sun" celebration and to conduct interviews with Inuit elders for her masters project.

"I'm fascinated by what we, in the so-called developed world, might learn from this ancient and sophisticated culture," she says.

Gunderson's trip to the Arctic in January, her fourth, was made possible with the help of a Stanley Fellowship for Graduate Student Research Abroad that she was awarded last spring through International Programs.

UI International Programs, the Stanley-UI Support Foundation and the Iowa City Public Library are sponsoring this International Mondays lecture.

For more information on this lecture, the International Mondays lecture series or special accommodations to attend this lecture, contact Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator, at 319-335-0345 or

International Programs enables UI 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: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Buffy Quintero, 319-335-0345,; Writer: Erin Vaughn