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2009.09.15 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Refugee Crisis and Global Response Focus of Sept. 30 Forum

Omaha - The “History of Strife, Promise of Hope” is the focus of a Sept. 30 community forum at the Thompson Alumni Center on the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) campus.

The 7 p.m. forum, which is free and open to the public, will include a discussion of the history of the refugee crisis in Darfur, Chad, Afghanistan and Pakistan by those who have experienced the crisis and those who are responding to the situation. Members of Hike to Help Refugees, a local organization that is responding to this crisis, will also be present to speak with attendees after the forum about volunteer opportunities.

The event will feature Marc Breslaw, executive director of the U.S. Association for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. In his work on behalf of UNHCR, Breslaw has traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Colombia and Ecuador to learn about the conditions facing refugees and internally displaced persons in these parts of the world.

Breslaw served as vice president for development and communications at the Jewish Social Service Agency of Greater Washington, a 115-year-old, non-sectarian agency based in Rockville, Maryland. From 1999 to 2006, he served as chief operating officer of the New Israel Fund, an international organization that funds and assists NGOs in Israel dealing with civil and human rights for minorities and populations at risk. Prior to that, he was associate director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and director of development at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, both in Washington.

The event is sponsored by the Service Learning Academy at UNO.

About the Service Learning Academy
The Service Learning Academy at UNO was established in 1999 with a grant from the Nebraska Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education. The office is currently supported by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at UNO.

Service-learning offerings at UNO have grown tremendously in the academy’s history. In the 1998-99 academic year, 133 students taking seven courses participated in service learning. By the 2008-2009 academic year, participation grew to nearly 1,600 students in more than 100 classes in disciplines and interdisciplinary programs across the university.

The Service Learning Academy supports and develops ongoing relationships with more than 200 community partners, and provides faculty development opportunities to UNO faculty to assist in service-learning pedagogy scholarship.

Visit www.unomaha.edu/servicelearning/ for more information, or call (402) 554-6019.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The 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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