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UMFK's Women's Network to present "Global Vision and Local Action: Women, Human Rights and the St. John Valley"

October 10, 2003


The University of Maine at Fort Kent Women's Network will host Lael Stegall, president of Social Change International in the Grindle Conference room at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Friday, October 24 at 11:00 a.m.

In her presentation, "Global Vision and Local Action: Women, Human Rights and the St. John Valley," Stegall will follow the lifespan of a woman from the perspective of the UN human rights framework.

Her presentation will be followed by a panel discussion of St. John Valley professionals, including the Battered Women's Project and UMFK students. The discussion will localize and bring to light the challenges facing women, particularly in isolated rural areas like northern Maine.

With 25 years of social change experience, Stegall works to assist leaders of domestic and international non-profit organizations to eliminate the barriers that exclude women from fully participating as citizens in their community. The centerpiece of Stegall's work is the STAR Network of World Learning (Strategies, Training, Advocacy, and Resources for women's social change leadership), which she founded and co-directed from 1994 to 2002.

Offering encouragement, technical, and financial support, STAR works with a new generation of women in the Yugoslav successor states who transitioned from victimization to survival. These same women are now civil society leaders, and are engaged in multi-ethnic cooperation and democratization.

Stegall is an unabashed optimist about the power of women to work boldly for positive change in a violent world, and she finds that the challenges facing social change activists go beyond borders.

Her recent work with Women Waging Peace, a Harvard sponsored project with leaders from the world's conflict zones and the Maine Women's Lobby, addresses common issues of media, money, and management

As a founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, the National Network of Grant makers, other social change philanthropies, and the Communications Consortium Media Center, Stegall practices the lessons she teaches for social change activism.

"UMFK, as a liberal arts institution, has a frontline role in influencing new generations of students who are the future professional, technical, and political leaders across the globe", said Stegall. "As citizens of their communities, UMFK graduates are the next generation who will influence public policy to build peace and democracy in this war-weary world."

The public is invited to attend, and audience participants are encouraged to join in the discussion with Ms. Stegall and the panelists. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Jenny Radsma at (207) 834-7586 or by e-mail at