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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Providence Campus to host Liberian peace-building town meeting

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 29, 2002 -- The University of Rhode Island’s Providence Campus will host a Liberian peace building town meeting called "A Citizens Agenda for Peace, Reconciliation and Reconstruction of Liberia," on Sunday, May 5. The event is free and open to the public.

The meeting will be held from 3 to 7:30 p.m. at the campus, located on 80 Washington St. in downtown Providence. Dinner will be served following the meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Speakers include Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at URI, Danlette Norris, president of the Liberian Community/Association of Rhode Island and H. Phillip West, executive director of Common Cause of Rhode Island and a consultant to the Liberian Peace Building Town Meeting Series.

In July 2003, Liberia will hold its second general elections after a devastating civil war that lasted for seven years. The brutality and devastation of the war has affected Liberians at home and abroad. While many have chosen to remain in the country, thousands of others have been forced to flee as refugees to countries around the globe with no immediate hope of returning to their homes and families.

As the country anticipates the upcoming elections, steps are being taken to ensure the participation of Liberian citizens in establishing a true democracy. Citizens have not had the opportunity to hear competing politicians debate their respective positions with the aim of allowing voters to make informed decisions. While the Liberian government was created as a duplication of the United States, the Liberian people are unable to participate in an open democratic process similar to that experienced by their American counterparts. The project is designed to address the conditions by conducting 44 community building meetings across the United States, Europe and in refugee camps in Africa and Liberia.

The purpose is to fully educate Liberians on the democratic process, promote civic participation and community leadership, teach citizens about establishing principles of nonviolence in conducting elections and establishing national political debates involving political candidates and citizens.

The town meeting is sponsored by URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies in collaboration with the Liberian Community Association of Rhode Island and the URI Office of Professional Development, Leadership and Organization Training.

For more information, call Abu Bakr at 874-4860.

For Information: Abu Bakr, 874-4860, Jan Wenzel, 874-5190, Sarah Emmett, 874-2116

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