September 27, 2004: Headlines: COS - Iran: Speaking Out: Election2004: Politics: Miami Herald: Iran RPCV Donna Shalala says South Florida ready for the first debate

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Iran: Special Report: Iran RPCV, Cabinet Member, and University President Donna Shalala: September 27, 2004: Headlines: COS - Iran: Speaking Out: Election2004: Politics: Miami Herald: Iran RPCV Donna Shalala says South Florida ready for the first debate

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.185.151) on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 3:10 pm: Edit Post

Iran RPCV Donna Shalala says South Florida ready for the first debate

Iran RPCV Donna Shalala says South Florida ready for the first debate

Iran RPCV Donna Shalala says South Florida ready for the first debate

South Florida ready for the first debate

BY DONNA E. SHALALA

www.miami.edu

The University of Miami is ready for its close-up! After a year of planning and preparation, all eyes will be on UM and South Florida this week as we host the first presidential debate of this election year. The university is pulsing with excitement. There are debate-related activities happening on every subject and in every venue on campus. The energy of students, faculty and administration can be felt everywhere.

This is particularly exciting for our students -- a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness history being made on their own campus. From news forums and film series to mock elections and voter-registration drives, our students have planned and participated in dozens of debate events.

At the start, we made sure that hosting the debate would be much more than just a one-day affair for our institution. Since earlier this year, the university has been presenting a variety of special programs featuring renowned luminaries that reflect our theme of ``Celebrating American Democracy and Diversity.''

To name a few: Author-poet Maya Angelou gave a stirring and powerful lecture last spring as the graduate convocation guest speaker.

Washington power couple and political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin offered their insights on the candidates during an orientation event for freshmen, parents, faculty and staff.

Last week we had the incredible privilege of hosting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for a series of events in which he shared his views on nonviolence, compassion and world peace.

While attendance at the debate is limited and controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two political parties, a broad spectrum of activities -- including lectures, exhibits, concerts and classes -- has enabled members of the university and our community to participate in this unique moment in history.

We've spent months getting ready. We have worked closely with local officials and law enforcement to develop a comprehensive plan that will minimize disruptions as much as possible. But the reality is that there will be traffic delays and interruptions. Security since 9/11 is at a different level than for any previous experiences. More than 2,500 journalists from around the world will make the university their base of operations while covering the week's news. Our university and community are well prepared to accommodate the visitors attending the presidential debate.

An event of this magnitude cannot be successfully executed without the cooperation of community partners. Myriad agencies, organizations and officials at local, county, state and federal levels have worked tirelessly to prepare for the debate. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the city of Coral Gables, Mayor Don Slesnick and city commissioners for their unwavering support and enthusiastic involvement.

Hosting the debate and first-rate events also requires resources. The generosity of donors and sponsors has enabled the university to make this an unforgettable experience. We express our deepest thanks to the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, who partnered with us early on as the primary underwriter of the presidential debate at UM.

In a pivotal city and a battleground state, the debate promises to focus attention on our community beyond the event itself. We have a tremendous opportunity to share our dynamic university and vibrant city with audiences worldwide.

This is an extraordinary moment for all Floridians. More than 40 million people worldwide will be watching. Take part, tune in, and be proud.

Donna E. Shalala is president of the University of Miami.





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Story Source: Miami Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Iran; Speaking Out; Election2004; Politics

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