Invisible Children of Uganda is the focus of a presentation at the Cintas Center

A child soldier victimized by the 24-year war in Uganda is to speak at the event | February 23, 2010

The Empowerment Network of Xavier University and the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue are presenting “Invisible Children: The Story of Child Soldiers” on March 9 at Xavier’s Cintas Center.

The event is hosted by Invisible Children, a group which seeks to bring attention to the stories of those affected by the longest running war in Africa. It was chronicled beginning in 2003 by three American filmmakers who discovered the tragedy of the 24-year-long war in Uganda that uses children as both weapons and victims. More than 66,000 children have been abducted and converted into soldiers. Many others have been abused and violated by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and millions more have been displaced by the violence.

One of those child soldiers, Boni, was included in their documentary, "Invisible Children." He is speaking at the Cintas event of his experiences of war and rehabilitation. He will be joined by staff from Invisible Children, which focuses on long-term development in war-affected regions.

Through education and innovative economic opportunities, Invisible Children partners with affected communities and strives to improve the quality of life for individuals living in conflict and post-conflict regions. Invisible Children focuses on long-term goals by developing programs and initiatives that address the need for quality education, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement from the camps, and financial stability.

Xavier's Youth Empowerment Network strives to enlighten the community about important social justice issues. It is headed by Lauren Head and Aly Kieber-Emmons.

“We are bringing Invisible Children to Xavier's campus to reveal the story of thousands upon thousands of children who have been abducted, abused and manipulated into becoming child soldiers,” says Kieber-Emmons. “Uganda has endured a war against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) which is responsible for these abductions.”

By raising awareness of this issue, the group hopes to motivate the government to pressure the world, and especially Uganda’s government, to end the war and the abuse of children. The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Cintas Center's Duff Banquet Center. For more information, e-mail youthempowerment@xavier.edu.