Union College hosts Amnesty International statewide forum

LINCOLN–On Sunday, Oct. 23, Union College will host an Amnesty International statewide forum on the abuse of women's rights in Africa. Anyone interested in human rights is encouraged to attend this forum, which will run from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m in the Everett Dick Administration Building located at the center of the Union College campus, 3800 South 48th St. High school and college students from local Amnesty chapters will assist with the event.

This will be the second annual statewide event Union College has hosted for Amnesty International. "We're holding it here because this campus is proud to stand up for human rights," said Chris Blake, associate professor of communication at Union.

The forum will begin with Dori Densmore, Midwest regional director for the nonpolitical global organization, who will explain the philosophical framework of Amnesty International and explore the basic concepts of human rights, both domestic and international.

Gloria Kilanko, director and coordinator of Women Watch Afrika, Inc. and keynote speaker for the forum, will also speak during the afternoon workshop sessions. Among Kilanko's long list of experience credentials, she initiated and set up a rural women's cooperative society in five states in Nigeria. She said in 1993: "The role of women in African society has been conditioned by the ideology of patriarchy, which defined is the 'belief in the natural superiority of the male gender, and thus, the necessary sufficient dominance of the male sex.' Every other thing in African society is seen in relation to male interest, needs and concerns."

Other workshop speakers include Jen Deets, art teacher at Bryan Learning Center, whose presentation is entitled 'Using Visual Art to Hit the Issues,' and Christopher Watson, field organizer in the Midwest Regional Office of Amnesty International USA, who will speak on the role of men in countering gender-based violence. Blake, who is also faculty sponsor of Union's Amnesty chapter, will explore methods of non-combative confrontation.

A panel discussion between workshop leaders will follow workshop sessions. The panel discussion will be facilitated by Robert Hitchcock, professor of anthropology at UNL.

For more information about the statewide forum or to register, please contact Ron Bowlin or Suzy Pregner at 402.483.1697 or via e-mail: amnestylincoln [at] yahoo.com. Registration in advance is preferred but not required. Cost is $8 per person, which includes lunch.