Activist to expose Cambodia

By Sara Blankenheim

Human rights activist and author Carol Wagner will speak at NIU.

For the past 10 years, Wagner has been dedicated to working with humanitarian organizations in Cambodia.

Her book that was published in March 2002 is called “Soul Survivors – Stories of Women and Children in Cambodia.”

Susan Russell, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, is optimistic about the turnout, which most likely will be graduate students.

“[I’m expecting] around 20 to 25 graduate students and professors,” she said. “Most of whom are studying and teaching about Southeast Asia.”

Wagner also leads educational study tours to Southeast Asia, and is the former director of a center for non-violence in the San Francisco Bay area.

Wagner was also a United Nations observer in Cambodia’s last election and will focus on a variety of topics.

“The topic of human rights in Southeast Asian countries is often hotly debated,” Russell said. “These are important issues in Cambodia, where the genocide and brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s decimated the population; killed or drove out educated members of the country; and destroyed many of the most basic social institutions that supported civil society.”

In addition to Wagner, CSEAS brings in five to six external speakers to campus per semester.

“Her honorarium is paid from a grant to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI international studies program,” Russell said.

The lecture will be held at noon on Friday at the Campus Life Building, Suite 110, and will include an Indonesian lunch.

“Lunch costs $3 for students and $3.50 for everyone else,” Russell said. “Lunch consists of rice, curry, and vegetables prepared by one of our Indonesian graduate students.

To reserve a lunch, call Nancy Schuneman at 753-1771 by noon today.