Humanitarian and West Wing Actor Melissa Fitzgerald to Present "Voices of Uganda" Awareness Program

Thursday, October 13, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Award winning filmmaker, actor, and humanitarian Melissa Fitzgerald will present the “Voices of Uganda” Awareness program at Chestnut Hill College on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the East Parlor of St. Joseph Hall.

Melissa Fitzgerald, best known for her role as Carol Fitzpatrick on the award-winning television series, The West Wing, will present a multi-media presentation that raises awareness about the 25-year rebel war in northern Uganda. The program consists of a brief history of northern Uganda, video clips from the Voices of Uganda theater program, and monologues performed by Chestnut Hill College students. The monologues, written by West Wing writer Josh Singer, award-winning journalist Jimmie Briggs, and award-winning playwright Winter Miller, are based off of interviews with war-effected Ugandans. The evening will conclude with a question and answer session with Ms. Fitzgerald.

On Thursday, October 20 and Monday, October 24, Fitzgerald will be visiting undergraduate classes at the College presenting information about the Voices of Uganda program and coaching students who will be performing in Tuesday evening’s program.

Melissa Fitzgerald is an actor, producer, and activist. Her acting career has included film, theatre, and television, including the role of Carol on the award-winning political drama, The West Wing. She has produced the award-winning short film, Hope Not Lost, and is a producer/co-artistic director of her current film, Staging Hope. Throughout her life, Melissa has been dedicated to community service and outreach, and has been extensively involved in local, state and national political organizations and campaigns. In 1995 she and David Ackert co-founded Voices in Harmony, a non-profit organization that works with at risk teens on a mentoring theater program.

Fitzgerald served on the Advisory Board of the American Democracy Institute Impact Center and on the board of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS care (IAPAC) and has traveled to South Africa as an IAPAC volunteer. Melissa represented International Medical Corps (IMC) at the G8 Summit as part of the ONE campaign to end poverty. The following year she traveled to northern Uganda as an IMC volunteer. She remains deeply involved in advocating for peace in northern Uganda and the surrounding region.

Her new documentary, Staging Hope, tells the riveting story of collaboration between Voices of Uganda and 14 Ugandan teenagers as they worked together on a theatre program in warn torn northern Uganda. Notable Hollywood actors such as Martin Sheen and Allison Janney also play a part in the production and performance aspects of the film, which opens November 1 at the Philadelphia Film Festival.

Ms. Fitzgerald, a native of Philadelphia, is the daughter of long-time Chestnut Hill residents, Carol McCullough Fitzgerald, executive director of the Pennsylvania Society and member of the Chestnut Hill College Board of Directors, and the Honorable James J. Fitzgerald, III. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Catherine Nerney, SSJ, Ph.D. at 215.248.7099 or e-mail nerneyc@chc.edu.