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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 5, 2007

International visitors council to honor West Elementary at Nov. 7 meeting

Members of the community are invited to the Council on International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) annual meeting from 4:45 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7. The annual gathering takes place in the International Programs Commons, 1117 University Capitol Centre.

West Elementary School in West Liberty will be honored at the event. Principal Nancy Gardner, along with two students from West Elementary, will be present to accept the Citizen Diplomacy Award for the school's dual language program. According to Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director, the award goes to an individual or group who is extremely helpful in assisting, entertaining and hosting international visitors and has a strong interest in international relations.

Featured speaker for the meeting is Ahmed Kanna (left), a visiting professor of Middle East and Muslim World Studies at the University of Iowa. Kanna earned his doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard and joined the UI last fall as the first International Programs post-doctoral fellow. He specializes in urban life in Arabian Gulf countries, particularly in situations where societies become urban.

Kanna also earned a master's degree in Middle East studies from Harvard in 2000 and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from James Madison University in 1997. He lived a significant part of his childhood in the Middle East. Born in Iraq, Kanna spent the first five years of his life there before moving with his family to Kuwait, where he lived for four years before immigrating to the United States.

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.

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: Thomas Baldridge, International Programs, 319-335-0351,; Kelli Andresen, International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,