CEDAR RAPIDS– Iowa played host to the national organization Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) from May 6 through 10 at the Hotel at Kirkwood.
Iowa held center stage for meetings convened by national and international leaders of the 52 year old, Nobel peace prize winning organization. Thanks to the kind attention and assistance of the many expert hotel staff and the Kirkwood Community College affiliated training programs, this remarkable, first ever, national PSR gathering concluded a successful meeting on Saturday, May 10.
Those who attended the meetings work to address and reduce the humanitarian and health risks posed by the growing threat of nuclear weapons, the changing climate, and toxic environmental degradation. These first time visitors, initially quite skeptical about Iowa, were especially appreciative of its many unique offerings, both practical and recreational, available in and around the Kirkwood campus and the greater Cedar Rapids area.
The intractable challenges of our times were addressed in the meetings with U.S. Senate staff, elected Iowa officials, and online participants followed by experiences arranged by the Hotel at Kirkwood staff. Participants concerned about sustainability were able to visit and learn from the Kirkwood wind turbine and training center, the new Cedar Rapids LEED certified library with its green roof and inviting community center atmosphere, and the Kirkwood gardens and greenhouse. These tours, combined with the tasty, locally sourced and produced meals at the hotel, and an evening at the Cedar Valley Winery all served to showcase Iowa’s forward looking spirit and renew participants hopes for the future.
The troubled world presents us with so many new dangers and challenges. But the practical and creative talents of Iowans, especially those involved in Kirkwood’s uniquely integrated educational programs, services, entrepreneurship, and hotel partnership, manifest ample reasons for a positive outlook.
Board members, chapter leaders, staff and students from across the country join Iowa PSR in extending our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our hosts in Iowa. A special thanks to Tom Larkin of Senator Tom Harkin’s office, State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids and State Representative Sally Stutsman of Johnson County. PSR leaders departed Iowa renewed by the gracious hospitality, insights and new sense of possibility gained by their experience.