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Bethel to mark International Women’s Day with words, music

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College will mark International Women’s Day March 8 by hosting a lecture by an Indian scholar and advocate for the rights of women and children, and a concert by a local women’s ensemble.

The third and final Peace Lecture for 2006-07, sponsored by the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College, will be given by Sarada Sreedevi Amma on the topic “Scarlet daughters: A poignant portrayal.” Her lecture is at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus on Thursday, March 8, and is free and open to the public.

Amma was born in a village in Kerala in India. She holds master’s degrees in economics, psychology and clinical psychology from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in stress management from Cochin University of Science and Technology in India. She has presented papers on psychological and managerial topics in various countries. She coordinated the International Seminar on Women and Development in 2001 and in 1998 served as a United Nations resource person for the Sub-Regional Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women.

After the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia, Amma volunteered for several months in camps with a medical team from Amrita Hospital at Kochi. Her book Clinical Interventions among Tsunami Survivors is in the process of publication. In 2003, she published Scarlet Daughters of South Asia – A Poignant Portrayal and various papers dealing with the abuse of women and children, trauma treatment and rehabilitation.

Amma became an advocate for the “scarlet daughters,” women and girls caught up in international sex trafficking, when the UN brought this trafficking to international attention in 1998. Amma has visited and interviewed hundreds of these vulnerable women and children. She works to bring them hope through her writing and her lectures meant to awaken the world to their plight.

Currently, Amma is a professor at the Cochin University of Science and Technology and volunteers regularly in the communities near her home.

The KIPCOR Peace Lecture series is now in its 34th year. It has received support from the J. Winfield Fretz lecture fund, which helps bring speakers and events on topics of peace and justice to the Bethel College community, and from individual contributions to KIPCOR and to specific lectures. Peace Lecture series speakers have included scholars, performing artists, activists and visionaries.

Following Amma’s lecture, at 8:45 p.m., the women’s vocal ensemble Full Circle will give a concert in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel campus. Full Circle is made up of several Bethel graduates and Bethel faculty members as well as other local women.

The concert on March 8 is described as “an hour of music, songs of hope and solidarity.” It is also free and open to the public.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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