Presidential Lecture series brings to Hays authority on impact of war on children

Dr. Martin Parsons has made a life's work of studying the effects of war on children and is considered the foremost expert in the world on the evacuations in Britain during World War II.

He will bring his expertise to Hays on Thursday, April 6, when he will deliver the 11th address in Fort Hays State University Presidential Lecture Series. Parsons' presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the Fort Hays Ballroom of Memorial Union on the university campus.

"Children: The Invisible Victims of War" is free and open to the public.

Since 1992, Parsons has been heavily involved in researching civilian evacuation in the United Kingdom during World War II, spending a great deal of time investigating a variety of sources within the former reception areas and relating his findings to the national situation.

He is chair of the Executive Committee of the Evacuees Reunion Association; has lectured and organized workshops on the topic at various universities in the United States, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany for students and teachers; and has presented papers at a number of international conferences. In 2001, he gave the keynote address at the International War Children Conference in Mikkeli, Finland. As a result, he was invited to be president of the International Federation of Evacuees and War Children, which coordinates the research being done on the long-term effects of warfare on children across Europe.

In the United Kingdom, he has given lectures to various groups, including guest lectures at the English Speaking Union and the Cabinet War Rooms, and he gave the keynote address at the opening of the Imperial War Museum Evacuation Exhibition in London and at the equivalent in the IWM in Manchester. He was a consultant on the "Britain at War in Color" documentary for Channel 4 and has contributed to many TV and radio programs, including a recent German TV documentary on War Children.

In 2000, he co-wrote the Radio 4 series on evacuation that won the Sony Gold Award for Best Documentary. He has recently been appointed to the Research Board of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Munich.

Parsons has been included in "Who's Who in the World" for the past six years and is included in "Who's Who in America." He was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2000.

The author of more than 20 books, both academic and school textbooks, Parsons is presently researching the establishment and effect of evacuee camp schools and, in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, the long-term effects of war-child separation. He has recently become director of the new International Research Center for Evacuee and War Child Studies.

FHSU's Presidential Lecture Series was established in 1987, with the inauguration of FHSU President Edward H. Hammond. The purpose of the program is to bring professionals to campus to share their knowledge and expertise with students, faculty, staff and the public.

Previous speakers have included people as varied as an astronaut, Charles "Pete" Conrad; a world-famous mystery writer, Mickey Spillane; a historian and the grandson of a U.S. president, David Eisenhower; a world-famous heart surgeon, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey; and beer magnate William K. Coors.

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