North Texas U.N. Conference On Women To Be Held at U.T. Dallas on Nov. 1-2
Sixth Annual Conference to Address Freedom, Security
For the sixth consecutive year, The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) next month will host the popular, and highly successful, North Texas United Nations Conference on Women. The gathering will convene on Friday, Nov. 1, at 6:15 p.m. and continue the following day. The theme of this year’s conference is “Exercising Women’s Voices in a Fearful World: Finding Freedom, Security and Peace.”
While at the two-day event, attendees will participate in lectures, breakout sessions and group discussions about such issues as the increase in global and local uncertainty for women, particularly in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
The purpose of the annual conference, which will be divided into two sections, “Thinking Globally” and “Acting Locally,” is to bring together academicians, global experts, politicians, policy makers and local citizens to deliberate about societal concerns.
The conference will begin Friday evening with a special tribute to its founder, the late Dr. Rita Mae Kelly, former dean of UTD’s School of Social Sciences who died last year. Dr. Marge Cawley, Kelly’s sister and previous contributor to the event, will give a talk about the origins of the conference and Kelly’s role in institutionalizing it at UTD. After that, Guinet Guebre-Christos, regional representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will deliver the keynote speech.
UTD’s Dr. Lloyd Jeff Dumas will provide an overview for the “Thinking Globally” section of the conference. During that section, Dr. Anne Brodsky of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will discuss freedom, Dr. Nancy Russo of Arizona State University will talk about security and Dr. Joyce Marie Mushaben of the University of Missouri-St. Louis will discuss peace.
For the “Acting Locally” portion of the conference, there will be panel discussions about politics, education and spirituality. Featured speakers will include Pat Evans, mayor of the city of Plano, Dr. Cathy Bryce of the Highland Park Independent School District, Dr. Annette T. Griffin of the Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch Independent School District and Dr. Susan Marie Maloney of the University of Redlands in California. Following their talks, there will be two breakout sessions during which attendees will explore conference topics and make recommendations for local action in the areas of personal security, education and politics.
As in previous years, the conference is a community-based event, planned and developed through the efforts of volunteers, including faculty and students from area universities and volunteers from community groups throughout North Texas. Keynote and lead speakers for the breakout sessions will donate their time for the event.
The conference originated at UTD in 1997 under the direction of Dr. Kelly and is sponsored by UTD, The United Nations Association Dallas Chapter and Texas Division and several other organizations.
Kelly became interested in establishing a local conference about global issues affecting women after attending the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The Dallas chapter of the U.N. Association later contacted her about bringing the conference to the UTD campus.
Dr. Jim Murdoch, dean of UTD’s School of Social Sciences, noted that the five previous local conferences have been enormously successful. “Attendance generally exceeded 500, and many local groups found valuable information, networking and direction by attending,” he said.
The conference also has produced several concrete by-products. Among them are a major research project established to study the expanding Mexican migrant community in the Dallas/Fort Worth region and a local non-profit organization whose mission is to assist the growing population of refugees in the area.
Additionally, the conference has generated two continuing grants awarded to UTD’s School of Social Sciences by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. One funds the exchange of students enrolled in six U.S., Canadian and Mexican universities in the study of globalization, democracy and gender. The other supports the transition of Hispanic students who have completed two years of college in the Dallas County Community College District to UTD and other four-year schools in the North Texas region.
The fee to participate in the conference, which will take place on the UTD campus in the Student Union, ranges from $25 to $60, depending on which events attendees choose to take part in and when attendees register (fees increase after Oct. 17, and pre-registration is encouraged). For additional information, please visit http://www.utdallas.edu/dept/socsci/un2002/index.html or call (972) 883-2935.