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Human rights activists to visit UTPA for human trafficking discussions
By Jennifer Berghom, Public Affairs Representative
956-316-7192
Posted: 10/19/2010
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Three human rights activists from African and Middle Eastern countries will visit The University of Texas-Pan American Monday, Oct. 25 to discuss global efforts in combating human trafficking.


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The three guests — visiting from Kuwait, Nigeria and Zambia — are coming under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program to study how the country fights trafficking domestically and internationally.

They have been invited by UTPA to speak about their perspectives on human trafficking based on their work supporting human rights in their countries. Their visit to the University is facilitated by the World Affairs Council of South Texas, of which UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen is a Board of Trustees member.

The goal of bringing high-level officials from other countries to the U.S. "ultimately is not so that they learn more about trafficking and border issues, but for them to understand the American heart and to make bonds with future leaders of their countries and the United States," said Dr. Marty Johnson, president of the World Affairs Council of South Texas' Board of Trustees.

Having the guests visit UTPA will also allow the University community to become diplomats for the country and region and broaden UTPA's international reach, Johnson said.

The visitors will give their presentation at the UTPA Ballroom from 4-5 p.m.

"This is an excellent opportunity for people to explore the issue of 'Human Trafficking' from a multi-regional perspective. These guest’s each hold unique and significant positions in Human Rights organizations, and learning from their unique cultural perspectives will help the audience to understand the global struggle to combat trafficking of persons," said Nick Weimer, director of the Center of Academic Excellence at UTPA.

The UTPA visit is part of a two-week multi-regional project from the state department designed for individuals — including government and law enforcement officials, human rights activists, social service representatives and academics — who work to combat human trafficking.

The three visitors coming to UTPA will also meet with federal law enforcement agencies in the area, representatives from the Mexican government and tour shelters and colonias in the Rio Grande Valley Oct. 25 and 26.

For more information, contact Weimer at (956) 665-5342.