ASHEVILLE NC – Derreck Kayongo, a former child refugee who now serves as the senior advocacy coordinator in the Southeast for the CARE International relief organization, will deliver the keynote address as Western Carolina University and the university’s Women’s Studies Program present the 11thannual Gender Research Conference on Thursday, March 15.
With the theme “Women and Poverty in the Global Economy,” conference events will be held at locations in WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center. Registration begins at 9 a.m.
Kayongo will speak on “The Role of Women in the Fight against Global Poverty” during his address, set for 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in Grandroom A of the University Center.
Kayongo’s family fled Uganda during the tyranny of Idi Amin in 1979, and he has gone on to become a voice for marginalized and vulnerable people around the globe. Now a naturalized U.S. citizen, he has worked with the American Friends Service Committee as program director for the Southeast Peace Education program and has been director of the Southeast region for Amnesty International. CNN named Kayongo one of its “CNN Hero” finalists in 2011.
Kayongo and his wife, Sarah, founded the Global Soap Project in 2009 to collect used bars of soap from American hotels and recycle them into new bars that are distributed at refugee camps around the world. The project thus far has been able to provide 28,000 bars of soap to people in countries such as Uganda and Haiti.
Following Kayongo’s address, a series of presentations will be offered by WCU faculty members and students from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. that address these topics: “How the ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ Argument against Anita Hill Bought Clarence Thomas’ Seat on the U.S. Supreme Court,” “What Year IS This Anyway? How the Priests and Politicians Declared War on Women, 2012,” “The Serpent, Goddess and Women in the Bible,” “Emerging Voices of Resilient Jamaican Women” and “The First Lady ‘Pet Projects’ and Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria.”
Poster sessions presented by faculty members and students in the University Grandroom from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will focus on the topics “Children and Poverty: Issues and Solutions,” “Gender and Tattoos,” “What Is Sex? How Students in a Small Southern University Define Sex Compared to National Studies,” “Gender and High School Dropouts: A Case Study,” “Gender Differences in Perceptions of Potential Romantic Partners: Casual Versus Formal Manner of Speech,” “Can Children Really Become Transgender?,” “Venus of the 21st Century,” “Gender Role Conformity Influences Perceptions of Political Competence,” “(Little) Women in Technology: First-Grade Girls’ Responses and Interactions with Computers in the Context of Digital Storytelling” and “Drugs, Alcohol and the College Student.”
The conference will offer lunch for $10 from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in Illusions, and Mary Jean Ronan Herzog, professor in WCU’s School of Teaching and Learning, will present the lunchtime address “Faculty Women and the Glass Ceiling at WCU: Differences in Salary and Position in Academia.”
Another series of presentations, set for 2:05 to 3:20 p.m., will address the topics “Rural Women: A Global Perspective,” “Hybrid Representation: Embodied Pedagogical Agent Interface Design,” “When Being Latina Matters: An Autoethnography and Theory Construction,” “Hidden Dimensions of Sorority Life: Cultural Dimensions of Mental Illness?” and “Mutualism: Toward a Humane Valuing of the Feminine.”
The final series of conference presentations, to be given from 3:35 to 4:50 p.m., will address “‘Sharing’ Feminism: The Promise of Social Media for 21st Century Feminist Consciousness Raising,” “Women and Children in Poverty in Western North Carolina” and “One Man Away from Welfare.”
The conference theme of “Women and Poverty in the Global Economy” coincides with the WCU Poverty Project, a yearlong interdisciplinary learning initiative now under way on campus.
For more information about conference activities, contact Marilyn Chamberlin, director of the Women’s Studies Program, at 828-227-3839 or [email protected], or click on the conference website at http://www.wcu.edu/25228.asp.