Interparliamentary Conference Nov. 23-25


Scranton, PA, September 4, 2008

The President's Conference Room at Marywood University was the setting today for a media round-table to discuss preparations for the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom (IPC) to be held on the Marywood University campus November 23 - 25. Marywood University President Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., hosted Ezekiel Gatkuoth, the Southern Sudan head of mission, and Joseph Grieboski, President of the Institute on Religion & Public Policy.

Mr. Gatkuoth discussed the importance of the November Conference to his region and to countries that suffer from religious persecution and other human rights offenses. He emphasized the tremendous role played by the western media in bringing attention to the plight of the Southern Sudanese people and many others suffering similar injustices.

On Sunday, November 23, delegates from dozens of nations across the globe will arrive at the Marywood University campus to launch the fifth session of the Interparliamentary Conference-a forum for international parliamentarians and delegates to discuss legislative opportunities to address human rights, sovereignty, security, environmental protection, poverty, and extremism. Past locations for the sessions include Rome, Brussels, and Washington, D.C.

"Marywood University has a 93-year tradition of global advocacy for justice and human rights," Sister Anne stated. "We are taking this bold step to host the Interparliamentary Conference because we believe that meaningful dialogue is an essential pathway to building positive relationships among the religions and cultures of the world. We're very proud of the work Northeast Pennsylvania native Joseph Grieboski has done over the past five years in this effort, and we are honored to host this conference on behalf of the entire Northeast Pennsylvania community."

Mr. Grieboski was the keynote speaker and received an honorary degree at the May 2008 Marywood University Commencement at Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

"The Fifth Session of the Conference brings an opportunity for open dialogue not only for our international delegates," Mr. Grieboski said, "but also for the people of Northeast Pennsylvania. During their visit here, the delegates will learn about American life outside of big cities like Washington,D.C. In addition to the dialogue at the conference, this program will have a significant and potentially long-term economic impact on Northeast Pennsylvania. We hope that the success of this session will support a continued presence in this region for the Interparliamentary Conference."

Mr. Grieboski said that at the November 23-25 Conference as many as 40 countries will be represented by up to 80 delegates, including a representative from the Vatican. Special security measures will be in place at Marywood University and at other venues in the region visited by the delegates. At the Marywood University conference site, translation booths will be in place to provide information access across all delegations in the six official United Nations languages. An international media presence is expected to cover the session.

The session topics include "Our Common Nature: Religion and Legislature Protecting the Environment"; "Counterterrorism, Dialogue, and Extremism"; "Keeping the Public Healthy: Obstacles and Necessities in Prioritizing Public Health"; and "Identity, Sovereignty, and Human Rights in a Globalized World."

The public may attend the conference by registering in advance ($120 for all three days, or $50 a day per person). Limited seating is available. Daily media conferences will be conducted at the end of each session, including a closing media conference on Tuesday, November 25.

Regional and state government officials will be among special guests making opening remarks on Sunday, November 23. Marywood University students will be on Thanksgiving break during the session, but a group of students has volunteered to remain on campus to assist with the IPC and witness the event.

"The Interparliamentary Conference is the highlight of our University's fall semester focus on human rights awareness," Sr. Anne said. "Throughout the semester, classroom and out-of-classroom interaction and dialogue will focus on the same important human rights issues that the IPC will address. As guardians of our future, our students will become the leaders who will put into actions the positive ideas that will emerge from open dialogue at an international level." As part of the semester focus on human rights, the IPC will be preceded on October 23 and 24 by a special Marywood University campus theatre presentation of "Speak Truth to Power," a play spoken through the voices of human rights activists around the world.

For registration and additional information on the Interparliamentary Conference on Religion Public Policy, go to www.religionandpolicy.org.

For more information on Marywood University, go to www.marywood.edu.