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Lehigh to mark 9/11 through video conference with soldiers in Iraq

To mark the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Global Union will once again directly connect members of the Lehigh community with U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq.

Lehigh will host a one-hour, live university-to-battlefield video conference with U.S. soldiers in Iraq at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 11 in Whitaker 303. This is Lehigh’s third time sponsoring and broadcasting a video conference with soldiers in Iraq with a goal of localizing international issues and offering a status report directly from the soldiers fighting the war. The event is free and open to the public.

In addition, students from Nazareth Area High School have been invited to participate in the video conference with hopes of connecting with their teacher, who is serving in Iraq. The Freedom Calls Foundation and the Global Union are attempting to set up a private video conference with the high school students, their teacher and his family after the video conference with the troops is done, dependent upon approvals from the Department of Defense.

While the latest video conference will take place on the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, Bill Hunter, director of the Global Union, believes that the event will be especially powerful because the soldiers are often the exact age of the students in the auditorium—the most notable difference being the path that each group took in life.

“Once the video conference is over, the students will go back to their classes and the soldiers are asked to pick up their guns and go on patrol,” Hunter says.

This is the third in a series of university-to-battlefield video conferences that Lehigh has hosted, but Hunter points out that each one is different because as events in the war change, so do the types of questions that participants ask.

"Our goal is to hear first-hand how the situation is going in Iraq. While we can't ask about specific locations and missions, the rest is unfiltered conversation between our students and the soldiers," Hunter says.

For more information about the video conference and to submit a question, visit the Global Union Web site.

The Freedom Calls Foundation will facilitate the conversation between the Lehigh community and the U.S. soldiers live from Baghdad. The Freedom Calls Foundation has established telephone and video conferencing services in an Army Camp located in the Sunni Triangle. According to the foundation, its network offers 50 soft-phones and 20 hard-phones, six video conferencing stations, 10 video e-mail stations, and 50 computers with e-mail and internet access. For more information, visit the Freedom Calls Foundation Web site.

--Natalia Krepak

Posted on Wednesday, September 05, 2007

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