UICHR to host Ukraine panel


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An upcoming event is designed to increase public understanding of a recent issue that has captured countless headlines.

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights will host a panel titled “Ukraine: Between East and West” on Wednesday. Panelists will examine the Ukrainian revolution and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The panel will have an emphasis on human-rights issues. The three panelists are UI Professor William Reisinger, UI Adjunct Assistant Professor Oleg Timofeyev, and UI Assistant Professor Marina Zaloznaya.

Jim Leach, a visiting UI law professor who spent 30 years in Congress, will moderate the event. He will also provide remarks.

Starting last November, Ukrainian citizens began protesting against President Viktor Yanukovych after he stopped working toward a free-trade deal with the European Union. In recent months, residents of Crimea became increasingly unhappy with the Ukrainian government because the Russian majority of the area identified with Russia.

Adrien Wing, the director of the UI Center for Human Rights, said planning began a month ago.

“I think we can all agree Ukraine is a major issue in terms of what’s going on in world politics right now,” Wing said. “Nobody on campus seemed to be hosting something, so we decided that we would host it.”

Wing said she hopes the panel will educate UI students and faculty as well as community members.

“It is not an area that many Americans have focused their political interests,” Wing said. “We’re hoping to convey some basic education information about the country and what’s going so that this would perform a valuable service to our community.”

Reisinger said he will speak about Russia’s perspective and involvement and how Russia’s annexation will affect world events. He will also talk about historical background.

Timofeyev and Zaloznaya will provide more personal insight as natives of Russia and Ukraine, respectively.

“Many of these issues can be focused on in an abstract kind of way, but more than a few issues are deeply cultural and deeply historical,” Leach said. “The panelists are going to be prepared to speak from a number of perspectives.”

Reisinger said there will be heavy audience participation.

“We hope that we will then spark some questions on the part of people who are in attendance and we can turn it into more of a dialogue so people can get their questions answered,” he said.

The panel is on Wednesday in C31 Pomerantz Center at 2 p.m.

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