Nobel Peace Prize recipient shares a story of suffering, survival

Renowned social activist and humanitarian Rigoberta Menchú Tum comes to campus Oct. 5

TOWSON, Md. (Sept. 29, 2011)—As part of its Diversity Speaker Series, Towson University’s Center for Student Diversity presents Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Guatemalan indigenous K’iche’ woman and Nobel Peace Prize winner, in a lecture to students on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Rigoberta Menchú TumMenchú is internationally renowned as an advocate of indigenous rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation. Her story began in her home country of Guatemala, a nation that warred with itself for 36 years. In response to the horrors she witnessed during the war, Menchu began a life of advocacy by protesting the human rights violations committed by the Guatemalan military and publicizing the plight of the nation's indigenous peoples.

In 1983, her life story was chronicled in the internationally acclaimed book I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, a gripping human account of the struggles and suffering of indigenous peoples in Guatemala. And in 1992, at the age of 33, Menchú became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Guatemalan Civil War ended in 1996, and since then Menchú has successfully campaigned to have Guatemalan government officials prosecuted on charges of genocide and torture.

Menchú has received several awards and more than 30 honorary degrees from distinguished universities around the world. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and also a member of PeaceJam, for which she travels internationally speaking to youth.

In 2006, six women representing North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa united to form the Nobel Women's Initiatiive, an organization designed to inspire worldwide peace and equality. Menchú was among this group of founders, which also included Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire.

The lecture will be held Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in the University Union Chesapeake Room. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Center for Student Diversity.






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