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Diversity summit at UMD: From detained to Duluth

To hear Christopher Davila tell it, landing reporter Roxana Saberi to speak for a summit on diversity amounts to a premium catch. "She had a great story to tell and fit our theme of creating inclusion one story at a time," said Davila, the Univer...

To hear Christopher Davila tell it, landing reporter Roxana Saberi to speak for a summit on diversity amounts to a premium catch.  
“She had a great story to tell and fit our theme of creating inclusion one story at a time,” said Davila, the University of Minnesota Duluth’s program coordinator in the Office of Cultural Diversity.
Saberi will be the keynote speaker in today’s Summit on Equity, Diversity and Multiculturalism. The annual event figures to draw more than 700 guests, including many students, to the day’s workshops in the Kirby Student Center.
Saberi, now working for Al Jazeera America, a 24-hour cable news network, was arrested and held captive in Iran in 2009, alleged by the government to be a traitor while she was in the country as a journalist. She has published a book, “Between Two Worlds,” about her experience.   
“I look back on it when I am asked to share my experiences,” Saberi wrote in an email to the News Tribune. “I have an opportunity to talk about my cellmates, including two who are still there. …
“I remind myself how fortunate I am to be free,” she continued, “with the ability to walk down the street when I wish, to make phone calls when I wish, to read and write what I want, and to spend time with my family and friends.”
Saberi said she cherishes the opportunity to interact with students.
“Many of them want to live and work overseas, and many are driven by that strong sense of service, passion and purpose,” she wrote.
The summit also features dozens of 50-minute sessions put on by UMD professors and other professionals from throughout the Northland. The sessions focus on a wide variety of activism and converge to define a host of gender, minority and human rights issues found in the world at large and the Northland in microcosm.  
“It’s difficult to find these opportunities up here,” Davila said. “The summit is chance to stretch yourself, to experience something you wouldn’t normally get to experience.”
The summit runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Saberi’s keynote address set for 4 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom.
The summit is open to the public, with day-of registration available on site.

Summit on Equity, Diversity and Multiculturalism
When: Today, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Keynote address with Roxana Saberi, 4 p.m.
Where: UMD’s Kirby Student Center.

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