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Lehigh to host second university-to-battlefield videoconference on March 21

During the same week that marks the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, Lehigh students and staff will have their second opportunity this academic year to participate in a university-to-battlefield videoconference with U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The event will begin at noon Wednesday, March 21, in Whitaker Room 303. (Note: It will be 8 p.m. in Iraq when the videoconference begins).

Bill Hunter, director of Lehigh University’s Global Union (the organization organizing this event), felt that the first videoconference held back in late September was so rewarding—for both the soldiers and those in the audience—that setting up a second one made perfect sense.

“It was fascinating to watch our students interacting with their peers, the U.S. soldiers, in Iraq,” Hunter says. “They were the same age, but had made very different life choices. It's important to gain a broader perspective on life, and I believe both sides grew from the experience.”

Lehigh students and faculty can submit questions in advance to wdh3@lehigh.edu. The questions then will be forward to the Freedom Calls Foundation, which will clear the questions through the U.S. Department of Defense. Approved questions will be read by Morgan White, an international relations major who is serving as an intern for the Global Union.

The New York-based Freedom Calls Foundation organizes the two-way, real-time video and audio conferences with American soldiers. The foundation was created in April 2004 with a mission to build a communications network independent of the military, employing state-of-the-art technology to allow for communications with American troops in the field. Since that time, the organization sponsors an average of 1,000 videoconferences a month.

--Bill Doherty

Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007

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