Press Release 12.12.03

For immediate releaseContact: Kathy Rowan 704.541.7529 or 704.338.7219

Doctors Without Borders Founder Bernard Dr. Kouchner to Speak at Award Dinner
        – Dean W. Colvard to Receive Echo Award Against Indifference –

Dec. 12, 2003 (Charlotte, N.C.) –Doctors Without Borders founder, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, will visit Charlotte for a series of powerful events in conjunction with the Voices Against Indifference Initiative of The Echo Foundation.  The program brings speakers to Charlotte whose lives illustrate how one person can make a difference to humanity through their words, action and moral courage.  During Dr. Kouchner’s three-day visit, many segments of the community will share in his experiences. The culmination of the event will be The Echo Foundation’s annual award dinner at 7 p.m., Feb. 24, 2004, at Bank of America, Founders Hall, 100 N. Tryon St., where Dr. Kouchner will deliver the keynote address.  In addition, the 2004 Echo Award Against Indifference will be presented to former UNC Charlotte Chancellor, Dean W. Colvard.  The award recognizes Dr. Colvard’s lifelong commitment to equity and justice, most notably, his courageous stand against racial discrimination as president of Mississippi State University in the 1960s.The key educational component of the Dr. Kouchner project, Compassion Without Borders, is a student dialogue to be held on Feb. 24 from 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. at Butler High School (1810 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd. Matthews, N.C.).  Some 700 public, private and home-school students will participate in a Q&A session with Dr. Kouchner about global humanitarian issues. Students are currently studying curriculum materials compiled by students and The Echo Foundation in preparation for his visit.  Teachers and students will also participate in Tolerance Day, an interactive educational session at the high school from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on February 4th.The public can hear Dr. Kouchner on Feb. 24 from 9 to 10 a.m. on Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins on WFAE 90.7 FM.  Additional community forums are in the planning stages and will be announced as confirmed.   The Echo Foundation was founded in 1997 to carry on the message Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel brought to Charlotte that year – a call to action for human dignity, justice and moral courage.  For tickets ($150 individual, $1,500 table sponsor, $3,000 corporate table sponsor) for the Echo Award Dinner, call 704.347.3844.


    Dr. KouchnerDr. Bernard Kouchner is the founder and organizer of the Nobel prize-winning Doctors Without Borders, first established in 1971 in France as Medecins sans Frontieres.   Dr. Kouchner’s life’s work has forged significant advancements in humanitarian medical care in the troubled and developing areas of the world.  He established Doctors Without Borders to serve humanity by delivering emergency medical care and speaking out for victims of armed conflict, epidemics and natural and man-made disasters.  The Paris-based, non-profit organization provides its services across the globe without regard for established national borders, race, religion, creed or political affiliation.  Dr. Kouchner has personally traveled extensively to virtually all the troubled areas of the world.Dr. Kouchner has also played an important role on the French political scene, serving in numerous ministerial positions in France during the past 20 years.  Most recently he served as France’s Minister of Health.He was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as special representative to head the United Nation’s Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo from July 1999 – Jan. 2001.  Dr. Kouchner is also the author of several books, the co-founder of two French news magazines and the recipient of several human rights awards.   More biographical information and a photo are available at Dr. Kouchner’s bio

Dean Colvard

Dr. Dean W. Colvard, born in 1913, was raised in a home with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina.  He was the first member of his family to go to college, entering the work-study program at Berea College in Kentucky with $100 in his pocket.Dr. Colvard’s humble beginnings instilled in him a lifelong commitment to equity and justice.  His extensive academic career includes a multitude of awards and achievements. He played an instrumental role in shaping UNC Charlotte as the chancellor of what was then a local college. Dr. Colvard secured regional and national accreditation for its programs, helped create a 3,200-acre University Research Park and oversaw construction of residence halls that gave what had been a commuter school an on-campus community, and expanded enrollment from 1,700 to 8,705.  Dr. Colvard’s courageous support for desegregation as president of Mississippi State University during the turbulent racial unrest of the 1960s cast him in the national spotlight.  He challenged an unwritten state policy and allowed the basketball team to travel to Loyola of Chicago to compete in the 1963 NCAA tournament against a team with African-American players.
–more–In 1965, he led the University in admitting its first African-American student without the uproar that accompanied the integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962.  More biographical information and a photo are available at[1]..htm  About The Echo Foundation Award Against Indifference   The Echo Award Against Indifference was established in February 2000 to honor a member of the Mecklenburg County community who works “with an eye towards peace, a heart filled with compassion and a voice against indifference, in order to remind our community of its highest ideals.”  Previous recipients include: Joe Martin, retired Bank of America executive who used his community leadership platform to encourage racial unity; Bishop George E. Battle Jr. who has a long-standing commitment to disadvantaged youth; Sister Mary Thomas Burke, a former UNC-Charlotte Counseling Department Chairperson who helped establish and inspire community groups that serve people whose lives are threatened by abuse, poverty, drug addiction and AIDS, and Harvey Gantt, former Charlotte mayor and longtime community advocate.Some recent Echo Foundation Voices Against Indifference Initiative guest speakers include: Harvard Afro-American Studies Department Chairman Henry Louis Gates Jr., Columbia Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, and Chinese dissident Harry Wu.