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Activist/actor Mike Farrell to speak on human rights Sept. 9

Jeff Unger, News Bureau
(217) 333-1085;


Editor’s note: To arrange a telephone interview with Mike Farrell prior to his appearance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, call Robin Kaler, assistant chancellor for public affairs, (217) 333-5010

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Mike Farrell, a political and social activist best known for his portrayal of Army Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt in the TV-series "M*A*S*H," will talk about human rights in a lecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 (Monday).

The free, public event at Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, is the kickoff for the 2002-2003 campus "Exploring the Human Experience" initiative, which will include a series of academic offerings, performances and events that culminate with the commencement address in May.

The theme of this year’s initiative is "Beyond Differences?," which will examine whether there are distinctly and commonly human experiences and concerns. Speakers and events will examine whether these shared experiences and concerns form a basis for communication, understanding and empathy in a pluralistic world or whether the fact that these experiences and concerns are expressed in countlessly different ways simply represent one more sign of irreconcilable diversity.

"M*A*S*H" episodes focusing on human-rights issues will be shown from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 4 (Wednesday) in the Courtyard Café of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.

Farrell long has been active with the American Civil Liberties Union, American Indian Movement, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Special Olympics, United Farm Workers Union and organizations concerned with animal welfare, the environment, child abuse, spousal abuse and veterans rights.

Since 1979 Farrell has been spokesperson for CONCERN/America, an international refugee aid and development organization. He has visited refugee camps in Asia and Central America and helped disseminate information about the organization’s work worldwide.

He serves as co-chair of Human Rights Watch in California, president of Death Penalty Focus and as member of the advisory board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Farrell was a member of the board of advisers of the now-defunct Cult Awareness Network and is a founding board member of Peace Studies and of ATV, an inmate-developed alternatives-to-violence program at Augusta Correctional Center in Virginia.

As a host and narrator of documentaries, Farrell has talked about alcoholism, arms control, caring for the environment, children of divorce, child sexual abuse, the death penalty, and enriching the lives of the disabled.

In 1998, Farrell began appearing as a regular in the NBC-TV series "Providence," in which he portrays a veterinarian. Earlier this year, Farrell was elected first vice president of the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.