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2008.11.17 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO Television Crew to Document Homeless Youth in Ethiopia

Omaha - Two University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) researchers depart this month for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where they will gather first-hand audio and video material for an upcoming documentary production on “Ethiopia Street Youth." The production will provide an in-depth look at how Addis Ababa youth cope with homelessness, and an exploration of the services provided to these children by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Robert A. Franklin, Classical 90.7 KVNO radio and UNO Television general manager and assistant professor, continues his collaborative research project with the assistance of graduate student Joshua Krohn, who also serves as KVNO’s production coordinator. While in Ethiopia, the team will dispatch daily podcasts for UNO’s eNotes, KVNO-FM and KIOS-FM.

They will also document their travels online at http://omahajkrohn.wordpress.com/.

“In our role as public broadcasters, it is essential that while we remain the premier classical musical provider in the state of Nebraska, we strive to research creative projects that make a difference in our community and the world beyond,” Franklin said. “Ethiopian children are facing one of the worst youth crises on this planet, which is deserving not just of understanding but solutions.”

Krohn will record and assist with producing audio documentation for syndication as part of an independent study project in his master’s degree program. He will also explore regional music and indigenous musical instruments, which may produce an additional collaboration with the UNO Music Department.

Franklin and Krohn will be joined by four researchers from three universities in the U.S. and Ethiopia.

While in Ethiopia and upon return, Franklin will spearhead filming, production, script writing and editing of the documentary and provide technical support. The Ethiopia project is a continuation of Franklin’s research in children’s issues. He is also working to develop, “Children & Youth of Omaha Media Initiative,” a public services issues campaign in collaboration with several local media outlets.

“Both of these projects tie in with the welfare of children,” Franklin said. “Whether in our own community or on the other side of the planet, one thing that is consistent is that children are without voice; without a constituency.”

In July 2007, the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative was formed with a long-term aim of fostering sustained, mutually beneficial partnerships between African and U.S. universities to focus on the sciences, technology, entrepreneurship and related fields. Primary goals of the initiative include the enhancement and empowerment of African higher education institutions while increasing U.S. institutions’ competency in global affairs related to Africa. While in Ethiopia, Franklin hopes to also begin the process of establishing a student-scholar exchange program between Addis Ababa University and the UNO School of Communication.

Partial support for this activity has been provided to UNO by a Radio Community Service Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Classical 90.7 KVNO, UNO Television and the School of Communication are units in UNO’s College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media (CFAM). CFAM embraces imagination and human communication as inseparable aspects of the creative process. The college is committed to an exceptional liberal arts education, enriched by professional practice. It achieves excellence by encouraging discovery through learning, research, creative activity and engagement with all communities – metropolitan to global.

Contact Kim R. Balkovec for more information: kbalkovec@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-5866.

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UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. This celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to www.unomaha.edu/100/

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