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Source: Marcia Hornung, 785-539-8763, hornung@k-state.edu
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-6415
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009

ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVIST TO KICK OFF K-STATE'S 2009-2010 LOU DOUGLAS LECTURE SERIES

MANHATTAN -- Anti-slavery activist Simon Deng will launch Kansas State University's 2009-2010 Lou Douglas Lecture Series on Public Issues with "21st Century Slavery: Living Proof" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall.

The lecture is free and the public is invited.

Deng was forced into slavery when he was 9 years old. As a slave in the northern region of Sudan, his tasks included watching his master's cattle and cleaning dishes. He was given food scraps to eat, slept on straw and endured regular beatings. After his owners insisted he convert to Islam so he may become accepted as their son, Deng escaped.

Deng went on to work as a messenger in the Sudanese parliament and later became a national swimming champion. In 2006, he spoke before the United Nations' Human Rights Commission. The same year he launched the Sudan Freedom Walk, trekking 300 miles from the U.N. headquarters in New York City to Washington, D.C., culminating in a meeting with President George W. Bush. Later in 2006, Deng embarked on a fact-finding and humanitarian aid mission to southern Sudan and Darfur, which resulted in meetings with the top officials in Sudan.

"Many K-State students have shown an interest in global issues, particularly related to human rights and human trafficking," said Linda Teener, executive director of UFM, the group that organizes the Lou Douglas Lecture Series. "Simon Deng will provide invaluable firsthand insight into these areas from his personal experience."

Today, Deng is an American citizen and lobbies for the end of slavery across the globe.

Lou Douglas was a distinguished professor of political science at K-State from 1949 until 1977 and was widely known for his power to inspire students, faculty and citizens to instigate change. He was a founder of the UFM Community Learning Center. After his death in 1979 the organization inaugurated the Lou Douglas Lecture Series on Public Issues in his honor. More information on the lecture series is available at http://www.tryufm.org