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Former NBA player Manute Bol to speak at symposium

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 22, 2007) -- Sudanese former NBA player Manute Bol will be the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Sports and Africa symposium titled "Health, Sciences and Sport in Africa." The conference will take place Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24, on Ohio University's Athens campus.

The symposium will examine how sports may be used to improve the health of African people and those in the African Diasporas. Bol will speak at 3 p.m. Friday in Walter Hall Room 135.

The 7-foot-7-inch Bol's post-basketball life has been dedicated to social justice and activism. His Ring True Foundation raises money for Sudanese refugees. In 2001, he was held against his will after the ruling Islamic government refused to grant him an exit visa because of his support of the Dinka-led Christian rebels, the Sudan People's Liberation Army. He was only able to return to the United States with intervention from U.S. friends like U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

Bol is the second-tallest player to ever play in the NBA. He spent 10 years in the NBA, playing for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. He tied the NBA record for the most blocked shots in one half (11) and one quarter (8).

On Saturday in Grover Center W115 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the symposium will host discussions on physical education and health in schools; health education and sport; sciences and politics in sport development; sport and youth post-conflict rehabilitation; and the 2006 World Cup.

"We have the symposium each year to bring light to the fact that people use sports to bring social and political issues to the forefront," said Gerard Akindes, event co-founder and coordinator. "In poor countries all over the world, sporting events trigger social debates and people become emotionally involved. Sports are a lens to examine what is going on in the world."

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.ohiou.edu/sportsafrica/healthsciences/.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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