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University of Iowa News Release


April 21, 2008

Law lecture series brings its sixth Nobel laureate to UI April 23

When Shirin Ebadi speaks at the University of Iowa this week, she'll be the sixth Nobel Peace Prize recipient the College of Law has brought to the university in the last decade.

Ebadi, the 2003 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, will discuss her work attempting to bring liberal reforms to Iran at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. Her lecture, which is part of the law school's Levitt Lecture Series, will be free and open to the public.

William Hines, the law professor who coordinates the Levitt series, said the focus on Nobel Peace Prize recipients is not intentional, but it fits the mission of its benefactors.

"The Levitts wanted to create a lecture series that brings outstanding speakers from the United States and around the world to address topics that are of interest not only to the legal community, but to leaders in all walks of life in the university, state and region," Hines said. He was dean of the law school when the lecture series was endowed by UI alumnus and Des Moines business executive Richard S. Levitt and his wife, Jeanne, also a UI alumna.

Five previous Nobel laureates have visited the UI campus as Levitt Series speakers:

--Elie Wiesel, Holcaust survivor, author and peace activist who won the prize in 1986, delivered the second Levitt Lecture in 1998.

--Rigoberto Menchu Tum, a Nicaraguan civil rights activist and author of the book "I, Rigoberto Menchu," won the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and spoke at UI as part of the Levitt Series in 1998.

--Jose Ramos-Horta, an East Timorese politician who worked to free his country from Indonesian rule and broker a peace settlement between warring factions following independence, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. He spoke as part of the Levitt Series in 1998.

--Bishop Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, received the prize in 1994 and was a 1999 Levitt lecturer.

--John Hume, Northern Ireland political leader who helped bring an end to the country's long sectarian battle between Protestants and Catholics, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 and delivered the 2000 Levitt Lecture.

Levitt, who received his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1952 and his law degree in 1954, went on to become chairman and chief executive officer of the Des Moines-based Dial Corp. Jeanne received her B.A. from UI in 1952.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,