Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski calls children the invisible victims in all wars. “Their tragedy is particularly meaningful because it is a victimization of the present and the future,” he says.
Wanting to convey this message to his students, he was worked to bring four members of the “Invisible Children” spring 2008 tour to visit HWS on Monday, March 24.
The group, called roadies, “are trained to know not only the ins and outs of IC, but also the history of the war and current state of the conflict.” Their events are designed to “educate our supporters, and join a community of like-minded people dedicated to making a difference.”
Monday's visit will include a screening of the documentary film starting at 7 p.m. in Coxe 8. The event is sponsored by the Genocide and Human Rights Speaker Series and the campus chapter of Amnesty International.
“Our students are not that distant in age from the children in this tragedy,” he said, adding that the film documents that “something can be done. That movement [Invisible Children] was initiated by young people; their awareness, activism and sensibility is evidence that thousands of children can be saved if people are informed and are willing to get involved.”
After the screening, students, faculty and staff will be able to talk with representatives of the organization, learn about their role in the conflict in Uganda, buy merchandise and ask questions.
The Office of Intercultural Affairs will sponsor a reception for the speakers – Joseph Bello, Tiffany Newcomb, Adam Palumbo and Michelle Tobias – from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. that same day at the IAC. All are invited.
In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story. Reaching Uganda, they came upon a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them — a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.
After returning to the United States, they created the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” which exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda's night commuters and child soldiers.
What they came to find is that while there have been many efforts to address the issues that stem from living and fighting in such a long-lasting war, the people of Uganda are asking for a future beyond the conflict. Their programs are carefully researched and developed initiatives that address the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement out of the camps and financial stability.
Dobkowski co-chairs the Genocide and Human Rights Speaker Series with Associate Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter.
For details, visit Invisible Children.