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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 13, 2006

Lecture Series Kicks Off Semester With Talk On Just Government Sept. 25

This fall, the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) will again sponsor the "Careers for Change" lectures, a series of talks designed to introduce students to careers in social justice and human rights. The first talk of the semester will be a dual presentation by Iowa State Sen. Joe Bolkcom and Iowa City Councilwoman Regenia Bailey focusing on "Working for Just Government: Alternative Paths to a Career in Politics." The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 in room 1117 of 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.

Before Bolkcom's election to the Iowa Senate, he spent six years on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. Prior to his political career, he worked at the county public health department and as the director and founder of two senior citizen advocacy organization aimed at lowering health care costs for the elderly.

Bailey is currently serving her second term on the Iowa City Council. Bailey, who entered politics when she discovered Iowa had never elected a woman to Congress or the governor's office, was executive director of the Iowa Women's Foundation, where she worked on studying the status of women in Iowa. Bailey currently runs a consulting business geared primarily toward NGOs.

The lecture series will continue with the following:

Oct. 10, Peter Takirambudde, "Careers in the International Human Rights Fields," 7 p.m., in room 1117, University Capitol Centre. Takirambudde is the executive director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.

Oct. 18, Phil Mears, "Why Defend Prisoners? The Importance of Prisoners Rights," 7 p.m. in 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.

Nov. 9, David Bedell and Michelle Yehieli, "Helping the Underserved: Problems in Immigrant Health Care," 7 p.m. in room 1117, University Capitol Centre. Bedell, an assistant professor of family medicine, was a physician 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. Yehileli 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 Aaron Myers