One of the best ways that we can honor and extend the work of Dr. Martin Luther King is to learn more about the people and cultures that are different from our own. During the times that I hosted foreign exchange students or travelled abroad, it was the people-to-people connections that taught me more about a nation’s citizens than any media or government representation could offer. And in every situation, our shared humanity and our hearts showed that we had more in common than we had differences. Everyone living in Central Wisconsin has two great opportunities, during the next two weeks, to learn more about the people, particularly the women, of Iraq. This Tuesday, January 18 at 3:00 pm CT, Wisconsin Public Radio’s Jean Feraca’s Here on Earth Program, will feature an interview with playwright and actress Heather Raffo. Heather is a US citizen raised in the midwest and daughter of an Iraqi father and American mother. In her award-winning play Nine Parts of Desire and the traveling version, Sounds of Desire, Heather expresses the thoughts and hearts of the courageous Iraqi women that she met while visiting her family in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was removed from power. Sounds of Desire will be performed with Iraqi-American trumpet and santoor player, Amir ElSaffar at Sentry Theater on Saturday, January 29. The production is sponsored by Tomorrow River Chautauqua, WI Public Radio, Amherst Area Foundation and UWSP’s Woman’s Studies program. Tickets are available at the UWSP box office. Sounds of Desire has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and in many places around the country. This is the first performance in Wisconsin. I hope that you will make an effort to welcome Heather and Amir and take the opportunity to join in the post-production discussion that will follow the show.