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Humanitarian doctor to speak at Olivet College
Mar 19, 2009

Charlie Clements, M.D., president and chief executive of the Unitarian Universalists Service Committee (UUSC) and former war doctor, will speak at Olivet College Tuesday, March 24 at 3 p.m. in Mott Auditorium. The event, which includes a screening of the film Witness to War, is free and open to the public.

Clements served as a C-130 transport pilot in Vietnam. After a gradual change of conscience by the end of April 1970, he refused to fly further missions in support of the invasion of Cambodia. He was declared mentally unfit to fly and after six months in a psychiatric ward was discharged with a 10 percent disability.

Clements graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1980 and joined the staff at the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif. There, he frequently treated refugees from the civil war in El Salvador. Salvadoran Death Squads were targeting not only priests, church women, trade unionists and political rivals, but also medical doctors and students. In March of 1982, Clements shouldered a 75-pound pack of medical supplies and trudged on foot into the Guazapa region of El Salvador, where he became the primary physician for about 10,000 civilians.

Clements recounted his experiences in his memoir, Witness to War, and was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary of the same title. As president and CEO of the UUSC, he continues to promote human rights. Clements has been widely recognized for his humanitarian efforts and in 1997 represented Physicians for Human Rights at the treaty signing and Nobel prize ceremony for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

For more information, call (269) 749-7624.


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