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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 15, 2010

Photos: An eight-year-old Haitian orphan shows her resilience; A previously grand home in Leogane now in state of collapse (both photos courtesy of Chris Buresh)

Community invited to Benefit for Haiti at Englert Theatre Feb. 22

haitian girlA celebration of Haitian people, history and culture titled "Benefit for Haiti" will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, in the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. in Iowa City.

The fund-raising event will feature a vibrant mixture of live music, dance, readings and tributes, and is presented by International Programs at the University of Iowa; the UI Caribbean, Diaspora, and Atlantic Studies (CDA) Program; the UI Chief Diversity Office; and the Englert Theatre. Many other UI entities, local businesses and community groups will help cosponsor this university-community collaborative fund-raising event.

The evening will include presentations from current and former UI students from Haiti and Haitian-Americans as well as faculty and students from the UI Division of Performing Arts, the Department of French and Italian and Global Health Studies.

Several guest artists are also generously giving their time for the benefit including: Sean O'Harrow, director of the Figge Museum in Davenport; Joshua Russell, piano faculty from Bradley University in Illinois, who has taught summer music camps in Haiti; and Ed East and the Afro-Latin Project of Waterloo, Iowa who will join forces with the UI's Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble to present several Haitian dance pieces.

Chris Buresh, M.D., clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, will provide either an in-person or a taped video presentation, sharing poignant insights from his multiple volunteer trips to Haiti. Other representatives from the team that accompanied Buresh to Haiti, including UI medical student Amanda River, also plan to participate.

To view the most up-to-date schedule of performers and presenters, visit

haitian home"This is truly an opportunity for everyone to come together to raise funds for two established organizations that can provide significant support to those in Haiti through providing health expertise and helping rebuild libraries," said Loyce Arthur, co-director of the CDA Program and associate professor and head of design in the UI Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). "But it's also a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and help educate people about the rich arts, history and culture of Haiti."

General admission tickets for the event will be $5 for UI students and youth up to age 18, and $15 for adults. For those who wish to donate more, there are $25, $50, and $100 ticket options available. Tickets will be available in advance at the Englert Box Office from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the night of the event, at the box office and through the Englert Web site at

Proceeds from the event will be split evenly between Partners in Health and Libraries Without Borders. For more information on Partners in Health, visit For more information on Libraries Without Borders, visit

Audience members are also invited to wear red and blue, the colors of the Haitian flag, as an act of solidarity, Arthur said.

The Community Health Initiative in conjunction with the UI Carver College of Medicine Physicians for Human Rights will also have a table at the Benefit for Haiti, selling wristbands for $5, with proceeds going to the purchase of supplies for the people of Leogane, Haiti. The wristbands, half red and half blue, say "Haiti in my Heart" on one side and the Haitian Creole version of this phrase, "Ayiti nan kè mwen", on the other.

For more information or to make special accommodations to attend this event, call Sarah Shonrock at the Englert Theatre Box Office at 319-688-2653 or The UI Chief Diversity Office will provide an American Sign Language interpreter for the event. For more information, contact

University of Iowa TV (UITV) will tape and rebroadcast the event. Other event partners include: the UI Center for Human Rights in International Programs; the UI Department of French and Italian, the UI School of Music, and the UI Department of Dance, Division of Performing Arts, all in the CLAS; and West Music Company.

For more information, contact Joan Kjaer in International Programs at 319-335-2026 or

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Joan Kjaer, UI International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,