January 31, 2005

Program to explore tsunami's impact

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- William Recktenwald, Southern Illinois University Carbondale's journalist-in-residence, next month will recount his first-hand experience from one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.

Recktenwald was having breakfast on the south coast of Sri Lanka on Dec. 26 when a tsunami struck southern Asia. He grabbed his camera and began snapping photographs and moments later, was fighting for survival in 16 feet of water.

Recktenwald's presentation will highlight "After the Tsunami," Thursday, Feb. 10, in Student Center Ballroom B. The program begins at 4 p.m. and is free.

The program also features SIUC students from the affected countries who will discuss their unique perspectives on the tsunami.

Approximately 430 SIUC students are from the nine affected nations - Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand. In addition, the University has nine formal linkages with universities and governmental agencies in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for members of the university community and people across our region to hear about this disaster in a uniquely personal way - from an SIUC professor who battled it and from international students whose countries were wracked by it," Public Policy Director

Mike Lawrence said. "It is a dramatic way to bring us closer to a part of the world that many of us really don't know much about."

The program will also provide an opportunity to make a contribution to the relief fund for the disaster recovery. Chancellor Walter V. Wendler's office is accepting checks payable to the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, on behalf of several student groups.

Forum sponsors are the Public Policy Institute, SIUC International Student Council and the SIUC International Programs and Services Office.

For more information, contact the Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4009.