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Robin Phillips, Executive Director                        Cheryl Thomas, Women’s Human Rights Program Director
(w) 612-341-3302 ext.109                                    (w) 612-341-3302 ext.102                                   
rphillips@advrights.org                                        cthomas@advrights.org                         

14th Annual International Women’s Day Celebration: Transforming the World Through Women’s Voices
Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN (March 10 , 2009) – The 14th Annual International Women’s Day Celebration will be held on Saturday, March 14h from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota, 300 Washington Avenue SE in Minneapolis. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is Transforming the World through Women’s Voices.
This year’s event includes a focus on women and war – how armed conflict impacts women’s lives and how women play a critical role in advancing peace around the world. Keynote presenters will be University of Minnesota Law Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, who will provide a global perspective on international policies and practices on women in conflict and post-conflict situations, and Fahima Vorgetts, long-time activist on behalf of women in her home country, Afghanistan, and director of the Afghan Women’s Fund. Their presentation will include a discussion of the effectiveness of UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) as they relate to women, war, sexual violence, and peace-building.
Workshops throughout the day will include topics such as Women’s Activism in the Muslim World, Engaging Young Latinas in Leadership, A New Era for Reproductive Rights Here and Abroad, and From Nepal to Nicaragua: Empowering Women through Fair Trade in Handicrafts and Agriculture. Barbara McAfee and Maryam Yusefzadeh will open the day with a vocal performance. Closing the day will be a segment of the film “We Will Harbor You,” by Kathleen Laughlin and Terri Hawthorne.
Background:   Inspired by the 1995 U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, this event is designed to celebrate the diversity of Minnesota women, to increase understanding and tolerance in our community, to encourage activism, and to highlight advancements and challenges in women’s rights and equality. Presented by The Advocates for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota, this event is the Midwest’s largest celebration of International Women’s Day. The celebration will include speakers, panels, workshops, vendors including artists and craftspersons, music, film, and information from more than 65 co-sponsoring organizations.
The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-governmental, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights. With the help of over 600 volunteers, The Advocates investigates and exposes human rights violations; represents immigrants and refugees in our community who are victims of human rights abuses, trains and assists groups that protect human rights; and works through education and advocacy in Minnesota to engage the public, policy makers and children about human rights and cultural understanding. The Advocates for Human Rights holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org
The Human Rights Program provides academic, research, and internship opportunities in human rights for University of Minnesota students, especially in the College of Liberal Arts. To achieve its goals, the Program works cooperatively with faculty and other programs across the University, as well as with international human rights professionals in Minnesota and around the world. http://hrp.cla.umn.edu