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Humanitarian aid in Russia topic of Aug. 4 Kennedy Center lecture

The director of a humanitarian aid program for refugees in Russia will speak Wednesday, Aug. 4, on the Brigham Young University campus as part of the Global Focus Series sponsored by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

Gezahgn Wordofa will give an address titled "OPORA is Support: A Look at Refugee Life Under the Russian Federation" at noon in 117 Herald R. Clark Building.

The Eastern Arts Ensemble will provide traditional music and dance from Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan, the Caucusus, Central Asia and Mongolia as part of the lecture.

Wordofa has worked for a U.S. aid organization, UNICEF and various local humanitarian organizations in studying issues related to refugees in Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Turkey and parts of Asia. He has also worked for the United Nations, helping in social programs and fund-raising projects.

Because of his efforts, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees appointed Wordofa to assist in opening a Moscow-based, nongovernment organization called OPORA, which means support.

OPORA works with refugees living in Russia who come from countries such as Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Ethiopia and Chad, said Danielle Grigsby, U.S coordinator for OPORA.

Wordofa, who was born in Ethiopia, will be visiting the United States for the first time. He earned his doctorate degree in international relations and refugee affairs.

The center archives lectures and posts a calendar online at

For more information about this or other lectures, contact Lee Simons at (801) 422-2652.

Writer: Thomas Grover

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