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WorldCanvass on Africa

BY ERIC ANDERSEN | DECEMBER 11, 2009 7:30 AM

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Iowa City will get a taste of the African arts and culture in the second installment of WorldCanvass, a new program created by the UI International Programs, focusing on a specific topic of cultural interest each month.

Joan Kjaer, the former host of “Know the Score” on Iowa Public Radio and now the senior communications adviser for International Programs, will moderate the event at the Old Capitol Senate Chamber. The two-hour show will start at 5 p.m., and it will be aired on UITV and student radio station KRUI 89.7 FM.

“[WorldCanvass] highlights the many diverse and remarkable activities of faculty, staff, students, and visiting guests from all over this institution, who are involved in ‘things international,’ ” International Programs external-relations director Gerhild Krapf wrote in an e-mail to *The Daily Iowan*. “Joan is remarkably skilled at finding common threads and sharing them with the audience in a way that’s easily understandable — but not dumbed down — and very enjoyable.”

Kjaer, who used to work as director of communications for Iowa Public Radio, said she puts in at least 20 hours the week of the program, preparing background material and making sure every technical detail is in place. This does not include the planning she does months in advance, setting up guests for future events.

“It’s interesting how the second and third guest on the show will reflect back to what the first guest may have said,” she said in her soothing, made-for-radio voice. “It sort of feels like that really interesting party or dinner you went to, where people you never met were sitting next to you, and by the end of the evening it sort of feels like you know about what they do with their lives.”

Kjaer initially thought two-hours would be a long time for a live show, but she said she was amazed at how quickly the first WorldCanvass, focusing on human rights, went by.

“One hundred fifty people attended the first show, and it was the limit of the seats,” she said. “It really was an amazing turnout, and we hope the program will continue to gain an audience.”


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