News

Law School, Portland community welcome Unity Dow of Botswana

March 9, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – The Hon. Unity Dow, an acclaimed author, human rights activist and former judge who was the first woman to serve on Botswana’s High Court, will deliver the University of Maine School of Law’s annual Justice for Women Lecture in Portland on March 27. This marks the inaugural year for this new lecture series.

During her visit to Maine, Dow will meet with Law School faculty and students, community leaders, high school students and other groups, including the Mitchell Institute and CIEE, an international exchange organization based in Portland. The Law School established the Justice for Women Lecture series with support from attorney and civic leader Catherine Lee and other donors.

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel in the developing world and I continue to be impressed, awed really, by the extraordinary work being done to eliminate barriers for women and girls,” said Lee, founder and manager of Westbrook-based Lee International. “I hope the lecture series will help us to imagine new possibilities for promoting justice and equal life opportunities for women and girls here at home.”

Dow is one of the world’s foremost advocates for the rights of women and indigenous groups. In 1998 Dow became the first female judge appointed to the High Court of Botswana, and she served on the court until 2009. One landmark case during her tenure involved a group of Botswana’s Bushmen who won the right to live and hunt on ancestral lands in the Kalahari. The author of four novels and a non-fiction book, Dow published her latest book, “Saturday is for Funerals,” in 2010. The book examines recent successes that Botswana has had in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

News reporters are invited to an event at Portland High School at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan will present Dow with a key to the city. Brennan, Dow, Lee and Dean Peter Pitegoff of the Law School will speak briefly. After the ceremony, Dow will speak with Portland High School students.

The Justice for Women Lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, at the Abromson Community Education Center, 88 Bedford St., Portland. Dow’s lecture is titled “Juggling Truths – When Justice is a Moving Target.” The event is free and open to the public. Due to limited space, however, RSVPs are encouraged. Please contact Lexie Moras at amoras@usm.maine.edu or 207-780-4344.

The public will have an opportunity to meet Dow during a book signing at Longfellow Books, at One Monument Square in Portland, scheduled for 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28.

The University of Maine School of Law, located in Portland, is committed to promoting social justice in Maine and around the world. The Justice for Women Lecture series is an endowed program that will bring speakers to Maine each year to discuss good work and strategies to benefit women and girls in the developing world.

“Unity Dow is an inspiring role model,” said Pitegoff, the Law School Dean. “The Law School is honored to welcome Judge Dow and to engage so many Mainers in a global conversation about justice.”

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law.
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: tmaxwell@usm.maine.edu