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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 23, 2007

Photo: Alan Brody and his wife Francisca Mary Blay

Brody to give keynote at Sept. 5 CIVIC fundraiser introducing IWP writers

Alan Brody, former UNICEF officer in Swaziland, China, Afghanistan, Turkey and Nigeria, will give a keynote address while members of the community welcome and dine with international writers at a special fundraising event Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) is hosting its annual fundraising dinner at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville starting at 5:30 p.m. Honored guests include this year's 31 new participants in the University of Iowa International Writing Program, representing 28 different countries.

Brody's keynote address, "Lessons from Pigg Farm," will begin at 7 p.m. The title of his talk comes from a fable about pigs and a dung beetle titled "The Road To Pigg Farm" that Brody wrote during his time in Swaziland to illuminate some aspects of the artist's unheralded role in a global society.

Brody recently retired from a 22-year career with the United Nations as head of UNICEF for Swaziland, returning to Iowa to work as a full-time writer, lecturer and consultant. He has an undergraduate degree from Yale University, where he majored in English with a focus on fiction writing. He received his doctoral degree from the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in 1984.

After graduation from Yale, Brody joined the Peace Corps and worked in Ghana as a volunteer for nearly eight years. While on UNICEF assignments in Swaziland, China, Afghanistan, Turkey and Nigeria, Brody worked on major issues, including HIV and AIDS, poverty and women's development, child and maternal health, basic education, disaster response and children's rights. Brody uses storytelling to provide in-depth information about the AIDS epidemic, and one of the stories he wrote was translated and developed into the first-ever feature-length film done in the siSwati, an official language spoken Swaziland.

CIVIC is one of approximately 90 similar organizations that host and coordinate visits by guests of the United States State Department and several other agencies for international cultural and educational exchange. CIVIC is a community organization of volunteers that serves and hosts international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis.

"Working with the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Programs presents our members and volunteers an unusual opportunity to meet visitors from many countries and assume the role of a citizen diplomat," said Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director. "This requires no special training; just be yourself, a polite person from the middle of the U.S., or from wherever. Our visitors invariably want to meet 'real Americans' to see what we are truly like. Many of the international visitors have limited occasions to learn much about the U.S. and they appreciate the opportunity to learn what makes us tick."

The deadline to register for the dinner is Tuesday, Aug. 28, and the cost to attend is $50 per person or $400 for a table of eight. For more information, or to make a reservation to be seated with a writer from a specific country, contact CIVIC at 319-335-0351 or visit, which includes a listing of this year's IWP participants.

The International Writing Program is a one-of-a-kind residency program that gathers together the writers of the world for a semester of shared reading, writing and conversation in Iowa City and surrounding communities. Founded at The University of Iowa in 1967, the IWP has brought together more than 1,000 writers from 120 countries to develop a community of writing without borders, enhancing international understanding. This year the IWP celebrates it's 40th anniversary, with 16 writers participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. To read the profiles of this year's IWP participants, visit:

CIVIC is part of University of Iowa International Programs, which 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 UI Office of the Provost.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kelli Andresen, International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Tom Baldridge, International Programs, 319-335-0351,

EDITORS: "siSwati" is correct, as is "Pigg" in the titles of Brody's lecture and of the fable on which it is based.