Tuesday, November 3, 2015,
The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Coralville, IA

2015 Schedule of Events

  • 9:00-9:10 Welcoming remarks
  • 9:10-9:50 Keynote by Jim Harris
  • 10:00-10:50 First breakout session
  • 11:00-11:50 Second breakout session
  • 12:00-12:50 Lunch
  • 1:00-1:50 Last large group session
  • 1:50-2:00 Wrap-up

2015 Keynote Address

Jim Harris, founder of We Help War Victims

Jim Harris is a retired school principal from Wisconsin who is clearing bombs and offering community support to the most heavily bombed country in the world: Laos. Harris will discuss his work in Laos and the mission and achievements of his nonprofit organization, We Help War Victims.

Breakout Sessions

Monks, Markets and Beyond: Why Knowing Thai is Critical
Scott McNabb, Professor, UI College of Education

When you travel, study and live abroad the depth of your experience will in part depend on how well you know the language spoken by the local people. Language fluency allows you to develop relationships with people which can lead to insights into their views of the world. Our session will explore a specific example of this phenomenon -- how knowledge of the Thai language can help you to get to know people from all walks of life in Thailand -- from students to noodle shop owners to monks -- and how these interactions can enrich your understanding of the culture of this country. We will learn some Thai -- a tonal language -- and watch some videotapes of various social interactions I have had with Thais over the years since my first trip to Thailand in the Peace Corps in 1968.

Operation Smile: Providing Free Facial Reconstructive Surgery to Children and Adults in Developing Countries Throughout the World
Connie Chiles, BSN, RN, Volunteer Nurse with Operation Smile

Access to affordable healthcare should be a right of all human beings. While healthcare is a current, hot topic in the United States, it is also a huge problem in developing countries around the world. Without assistance from their local governments, many children and adults with facial deformities go untreated. The social stigma associated with an unrepaired cleft lip is heartbreaking. During this presentation, you will see actual before and after photos of children and adults who have had their facial deformity surgically repaired by Operation Smile volunteers. Their stories will leave you thankful for the life you have, but also help you to understand how essential affordable healthcare is.

Picturing Rights
Andrea Cohen, Doctoral Student, UI College of Education

Students will have the opportunity to choose a right (from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Convention on the Rights of the Child) and make a poster illustrating that right. The posters will become part of the Human Rights Day events at the University of Iowa Main Library on December 10.

Making Connections -- Finding Solutions: From Climate Change & War, to Peacemaking & Climate Stabilization
Maureen McCue, Professor, UI International Programs

Around the globe, people are caught in violent conflicts, while others struggle to survive as the climate changes.  Many people are caught by the challenges that both climate change and violent conflict bring together.  Too often, we tend to ignore the fact that the processes that contribute to violent conflicts are the very ones that drive climate change.  To change direction and develop a sustainable, safe and healthy world for all of us sharing this planet, we need to reconsider how we define security; then learn how to become active peacemakers at the same time we find ways to halt climate change.  You can't have one without the other!

Becoming an Ally to Students with Food Allergies
DeeAnn Grove, PhD, UI College of Education Graduate

For students will food allergies, simple activities can pose a deadly threat. In addition, these students regularly experience isolation and exclusion and are often the targets of bullying. Come and learn about what food allergies are (and aren’t) and how you can play an important role in creating physically and emotionally safe places for students with food allergies. You will get a chance to see if you can safely read a food label and aid a classmate experiencing an allergic reaction. We will discuss the new challenges kids with food allergies face as they enter middle school and high school−yes that includes dating! Together, we will devise an action plan for how you can be an advocate for creating a safer world for students with food allergies.

You Are The Future
Shams Ghoneim

We all have the responsibility and obligation to honor Universal Human Rights nationally and globally. The future for a more peaceful, inclusive, and kinder world starts with each one of us including the preservation of our environment and protection of all creation. You are the future and each and every one of you can leave positive foot prints on the universe. This session will address the role of social media in human rights, bullying, and explore what it is like to be a member of an underrepresented group.

Let Me Introduce Your Korean Middle School Peers!
Eunjung Kim, Doctoral Student, UI College of Education

Are you interested in what Korean middle school students' school life looks like? I will take you to Korean middle schools and show their classes, school uniforms, and more. You can see your peers' happiness and worries, and find yourself in their life, too.

When Thoughts Are Dangerous
Janet L. Stoffer, Director of Education, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

The Cold War is raging. Totalitarianism grips much of Eastern Europe, including the small country of Czechoslovakia.  Governed by fear, those who oppose the regime find a way to convey dangerous, non-governmentally supported thoughts and ideas generated from within and smuggled from the West.  Hear firsthand accounts of what everyday life was like during this time and learn about the role of samizdat.

Tying into the Community
UI Art Education Students

Join kids helping kids in need!  Come make a safety blanket to give a warm embrace to kids in our Iowa communities.  The tie blankets you create will be donated to Project Linus whose mission is to "provide love, a sense of security to kids who are ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need." This will be a fulfilling experience for you and the kids you help.

Security Badges
UI Art Education Students

What does security mean to you? Join us to create badges using quotes and collage and art materials.  You will make wearable pieces of art to take home to show family and friends what you discovered about the human right to security at the International Day event. 

Survivor 2015: The Baby Edition!
Alison Oliver, Instructor, UI School of Social Work

Do YOU have what it takes to survive your birth and make it to your first birthday? This workshop will explore what conditions are necessary for a baby survive pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of life. Students will compete for survival under a variety of dangerous (and often preventable) circumstances throughout the world in their attempt to win the ultimate prize: your first birthday party!

From the Mountains of War-Torn Bosnia to Corn Fields of Iowa
Amir Hadzic, MBA, Mount Mercy University

I would like to share my life story escaping the war in Bosnia, living in a refugee camp in Pula, Croatia, and coming to the U.S. as a refugee.

Forced to Leave Your Home: How People Become Refugees
Gada Al-Herz, Student, UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

An interactive presentation aimed at creating an understanding of refugees - who they are, and what they go through - by comparing the lives of participating students to the lives of refugee children in their age group. With a focus on Syrian refugees, students will develop an awareness of what it means to be a refugee, and how being a refugee can impact your life.

A Simple Approach to Teaching People About HIV/AIDS
Carson Phillips, Graduate Student, UI College of Education

Despite recent medical advances, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a global problem. In this interactive and engaging session, students will have the opportunity to learn about HIV/AIDS. Designed for the comprehension of all audiences regardless of their scientific and medical knowledge, this method of educating others about HIV/AIDS has been used throughout the United States, South Africa, and Jamaica. Students will actively participate in activities to learn about HIV/AIDS. We will explore how access to healthcare and education remains central to local and global human rights issues.

Security of Person: How the Law Should Protect Us (But Sometimes Doesn't)
Nathan Miller, Professor, UI College of Law

Security of person is meant to safeguard the right to liberty. It means that the government isn't allowed to punish us without good reasons. Our laws and our courts define for us what "good reasons" are, and when they work well, those laws and courts protect us from the power of the government. But in many parts of the world the laws and courts don't work and people are arrested, thrown in jail, and kept there for years without a trial. Even here in the U.S. our system often fails to protect those most vulnerable among us.

Last Large Group Session

An Afternoon with WorldCanvass: Meet Writers from Around the World!

  • Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, fiction and nonfiction writer from Singapore
  • Margarita Mateo Palmer, critic, essayist, and novelist from Cuba
  • Michael Mendis, fiction writer from Sri Lanka
  • Moderated by Joan Kjaer, UI International Programs

Each year, the International Writing Program brings writers from all over the world to the University of Iowa. Since 1967, over fourteen hundred writers from more than 140 countries have attended the program. Three writers from Singapore, Cuba, and Sri Lanka will join us for WorldCanvass, an opportunity to hear about each writer’s home country and ask the writers questions about their cultures and homes.