April 09, 2008

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Child activist Kimmie Weeks will give the talk, "Ending Global Poverty: A 21st Century Possibility," on Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free to the public, is sponsored by Child Soul, a Bucknell student group dedicated to raising awareness about child soldiers.

Weeks, who is executive director of Youth Action International and UNESCO's Ambassador of the Manifesto for Peace and Non-Violence, will focus on the topic of child soldiers.

Born in Liberia, West Africa in 1981, Weeks experienced civil war, human suffering, and death beginning at the age of 9. He ate roots and wild leaves when his family did not have access to food; drank infested water when the national water supply was shut off; and was nearly buried alive after several epidemics left his body emaciated.

Political asylum
At 17, Weeks was forced to flee Liberia when the government attempted to assassinate him for a report he issued on its involvement in the training of child soldiers. He was granted political asylum in the United States and graduated from Amherst College.

He has formed partnerships and led organizations that have provided education to thousands of students in West Africa, lobbied the disarmament of more than 20,000 child soldiers, and provided health care and recreation supplies to children.

Liberia's highest honor
Last year, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Republic of Liberia, gave Liberia's highest honor to Weeks for "sacrificial and dedicated services to the people of Liberia."

Sirleaf formally decorated Weeks as Knight Grand Commander in the Humane Order of African Redemption during programs marking Liberia's 160th anniversary, making him one of the youngest recipients of the honor.

Weeks is the subject of a BBC documentary Kimmie Weeks: Back to the Front, and is featured in the book, Peace in Our Lifetime as an international peacemaker, along with Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted April 9, 2008