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The "One Community, One Book" reading program was initiated in 2001 by Professor Emeritus Burns H.Weston and Dorothy M. Paul.  Paul coordinated the program through 2006 and it continues to be held each Fall.  The program was uniquely envisioned as a collaborative effort between the campus and community to promote human rights education through the reading of literature. Groups from around the City and County, such as public libraries, the Oakdale correctional facility, and the Iowa City Senior Center participated, organizing local events and discussions forums in conjunction with and with assistance from the program. The program encourages community members to read and discuss the same book with human rights or social justice themes at organized book discussions, in the classroom or in book clubs. A capstone event is always held and is usually a talk by the book author. Other activities are often held that are related to the book such as film screenings or children’s activities.

Highlights of the program over the years include a visit by author Khaled Hosseini whose debut novel set in Afghanistan, The Kite Runner, was chosen in 2004 well before this book became an international bestseller. In 2008, copies of the book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, were given to each incoming first-year student. Partnering with the Provost’s Office and the Lecture Committee made possible a visit by the author who spoke to approximately 1500 people at First Methodist church in Iowa City. Subsequently, One Community One Book has partnered with the City of Literature, Geneva Campus Ministry, and other campus and community groups to fully integrate the program into the life of the community. In 2015, more than 1100 people attended the keynote lecture delivered by author Bryan Stevenson, who spoke on his best-selling book Just Mercy. 

One Community, One Book 2019

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, and Film Scene are pleased to announce that author Lauren Markham will offer a lecture with boo...

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Past OCOB Selections

History of One Community, One BookLaunched in 2001 by UICHR founders Dorothy Paul and Burns Weston, One Community, One Book is an annual community-wide reading project coordinated ...

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