ULS to host Invisible Children tonight

For the second year in a row, members of Invisible Children, a non profit organization dedicated to exposing the lives of child soldiers in Uganda, will speak at USF tonight.

The lecture, which is the second in this year’s University Lecture Series (ULS), starts at 6 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater.

According to the Invisible Children website, the terrorist group Lord’s Resistance Army, created in 1988, and the Government of Uganda have been at war. It states, “the rebels resorted to abducting children and indoctrinating them into their ranks. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the LRA’s troops were abducted as children.”

The organization is geared toward promoting and restoring peace in parts of Africa, and will show a new screening of their documentary, “Tony,” which tells the story of a boy’s survival and life in Uganda.

“This may be one of our most powerful lectures of the year, and is definitely one that will reach and touch every student,” said Spencer Southard, director of marketing for ULS.

Invisible Children offered to speak at USF for free. Last year’s lecture also cost ULS nothing.

“Invisible Children is an important lecture because, apart from their great cause, they have an inspirational story of how three young filmmakers set out to make a documentary of the horrors children face in Uganda and ended up creating an organization dedicated to helping millions of children,” Southard said.

After the initial announcement of only four ULS speakers, Invisible Children was added along with Dewey Bozella, who will speak for Oct. 24, and Matisyahu, who is set for March 1.

“All of our lectures have been carefully planned to ensure that we get the most for our USF student population,” Southard said.

Shirley Brandt, a senior majoring in international studies, contacted Invisible Children a couple of months ago to invite it to speak at USF, but ULS had already requested an appearance from the organization.

Brandt, who is a member of Amnesty International, a student organization fighting for human rights, said she did not attend Invisible Children last semester, but is excited to see tonight’s lecture.

“Not a lot of people know about the conflict that’s taking place (in Africa) … This rebel army kidnaps children and forces them to become soldiers in their army,” she said. “It’s incredibly important to get that information out there to get people aware so problems like this don’t occur in the future.”

Amnesty International and Current have teamed up to promote the lecture.

According to its website, Current at USF is a gathering of college-age young adults growing in faith and awareness of domestic and global injustice, and mobilizing to bring about change.

Daniel Cura, a senior majoring in sociology and president of Current, said the organization helped ULS bring Invisible Children to the University last year.

“I just think it’s really good to get educated on different things,” he said. “Just by going, you may have the opportunity to learn about something that might strike your interest and get (you) involved that way.”

Southard said the Oval Theater can seat 700 audience members, and ULS is expecting a “fair turnout,” considering last year’s lecture attendance.

Students interested in supporting Invisible Children, can purchase merchandise after the lecture, and proceeds will benefit its cause.