Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 18, 2003

Director of Catholic Relief Services in Iraq to Lecture at Whitworth

Whitworth alumna and international humanitarian-aid leader Anna Schowengerdt, '93, will discuss her work in a lecture, "Humanitarian Aid in Iraq: Catholic Relief Service's Presence in a War-Torn Community," on Monday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Seeley Mudd Chapel at Whitworth College. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

In addition to presenting her lecture, Schowengerdt will receive Whitworth's 2003 Recent Alumna Award for her work with Catholic Relief Services in Liberia, Uganda, and Iraq. Schowengerdt will be honored along with three other Whitworth alumni at the George F. Whitworth Honors Banquet on Friday, Sept. 26, as part of the college's Homecoming Weekend festivities.

Schowengerdt began working for Catholic Relief Services in 1998. Based in Liberia, she managed the monitoring and evaluation unit there for two years. In 2000, she transferred to Uganda, where she served as Catholic Relief Services' assistant country representative, managing nearly 20 programs involving emergency food distribution, agriculture, education, HIV/AIDS, microfinance, post-conflict psychosocial recovery, and emergency preparation.

She currently serves as head of the organization in Baghdad, Iraq, where she leads a program that encourages citizens to participate in the new government and seeks to foster cooperation and reconciliation among community members.

Schowengerdt's work in international humanitarian assistance began when she spent eight months on an independent study-abroad program in Kenya while a student at Whitworth. Helping organize food and blanket distribution for Somalian refugees near the Kenya-Somalia border showed her "that the emotional high of responding to a humanitarian emergency would stay with me forever," she says.

Schowengerdt graduated from Whitworth College in 1993 with a B.A. in international studies, and from the University of Denver in 1996 with a master's degree in international politics and development.

Schowengerdt's lecture is part of Whitworth's "Lives of Commitment" Project, which was launched in 2001 when the college received a $1,014,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The five-year program is based on new research that identifies tools for helping college students develop a robust worldview that becomes a way of life after they graduate. The project supports visiting speakers, research seminars, faculty-development programs, and other initiatives to integrate worldview issues and civic engagement into the college culture and curriculum.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Julia Stronks, professor of politics & history, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4577 or jstronks@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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