January 10, 2001 Ralph Bunche Programs at the Library of Congress
Washington Premiere of "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey" on Jan. 31 and "Legacy of Ralph Bunche" Symposium on Feb. 1
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Contact: James Dandridge, II (301) 292-7362
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"Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," a new two-hour documentary film by Emmy Award-winning film producer William Greaves on the renowned African American statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner, will have its Washington premiere on Wednesday, January 31, at 7 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E. A symposium of renowned scholars of Bunche's life and achievements, titled "The Legacy of Ralph Bunche," will follow the next day, February 1, from 9 a.m. to noon in room 119 of the Jefferson Building. Both events are free and open to the public.
"Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey" was recently selected for the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and will be shown as a prime-time special on PBS on Friday, February 2, at 9 p.m. ET. The film, which is narrated by Sidney Poitier, is based on a biography written by Sir Brian Urquhart, Bunche's closest colleague and his successor as Under Secretary General of the United Nations.
The film is the first to document the life and historic achievements of Bunche (1903-1972). Against a backdrop of American and world history that Bunche had a hand in shaping, the film tells the personal story of the scholar turned statesman, and the contributions he made to international diplomacy, decolonization of the world, peace-keeping, and human rights in pre-civil rights America. Notable among Bunche's achievements was his success in negotiating the first and only armistice between Israel and four Arab nations for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize. At the screening, producer William Greaves will introduce the film and present an archival copy of the film to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington for preservation in the Library's vast motion picture collection.
Participants in the symposium on February 1 will include Sir Brian Urquhart, Bunche's closest colleague and successor as U.N. Under Secretary General; Dr. Benjamin Rivlin, CUNY; Dr. Robert Edgar, Howard University; and Dr. David Levering Lewis, Rutgers University. The program will be moderated by Ambassador Donald McHenry, formerly U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. and currently with Georgetown University.