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Farrell Brings Messages Beyond M.A.S.H.

4/8/2006 —

“Become informed. Get involved. Make a difference.” You might think these are strange words coming from B.J. Hunnicutt, but don’t miss the message behind the man. Time and talent have brought actor and activist Mike Farrell a long way from television’s M.A.S.H. He’s coming to Penn State Worthington Scranton Monday, April 17th to share his observations, thoughts and ideas with Northeastern Pennsylvania. There is no cost for attendance to his discussion, and the general public is warmly invited.

Co-chair Emeritus of the California Committee of Human Rights Watch, Mike Farrell is also the spokesperson for CONCERN/America, an international aid and development organization. He has been President of the Board of Directors of Death Penalty Focus for the past 10 years, and a Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Know to millions of world viewers for his M.A.S.H. character B.J. Hunnicutt and later from NBC’s Providence, Farrell was also the producer of Universal Pictures hit “Patch Adams.” Farrell was vice president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for three years and is now completing a three year term as a member of SAG’s board of directors.

A refugee aid and human rights activists for over 20 years, Farrell first traveled to CONCERN sites on the Thai/Cambodian border in 1980. Throughout the following decade he took part in multiple aid missions and human rights delegations to El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. After one such occasion Farrell represented the delegation in testimony before the US Congress. During those same years, participation in such delegations took him to the former Soviet Union, Paraguay and Chile.

In 1988, Farrell traveled to Egypt, Jordon, Syria and Israel exploring opportunities for peace in the Middle East. After returning to the region in 1990, he went directly to Prague to be part of a team of international election observers for the first free post-war elections in Czechoslovakia. A third trip to the Middle East in 1992 focused on medical programs for children. Later that same year, on behalf of the UNHCR, Farrell went to Somalia, then to Bosnia. In 1995, again with the UNHCR, Farrell returned to Africa, this time to Rwanda, Zaire and Tanzania.

In the late 1990’s, Farrell went on a mission to the US/Mexican border areas of California and Arizona accompanying Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigators. They were looking into claims of abuse against the undocumented by US border patrol agents. In 1999, again with an HRW investigator, Farrell toured and interviewed prisoners at McAlexster State Prison in Oklahoma focusing on the notorious segregation of its H-Unit.

Farrell is a known opponent to the death penalty and an advocate of prison reform. He has visited prisons throughout the United States and has been involved in death penalty cases across the country and abroad. Farrell’s time is shared between humanitarian efforts and a busy film schedule. His discussion at Penn State Worthington Scranton will take place in the campus’ Multi-Purpose Building at 7:30 p.m. For additional information call the Student Activity Office at Penn State Worthington Scranton at 963-2700.

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