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College of Human Ecology

Biehl to speak on restorative justice, daughter's death

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Like many who dedicate their lives to a social cause, Linda Biehl's story is personal.

She believes in justice through peace and reconciliation -- called restorative justice -- and not retribution. So did her daughter, Amy Biehl, who was killed in an act of political violence in South Africa in 1993. Linda Biehl has turned the horror and loss into a mission.

She will talk about that mission in a presentation at Kansas State University, "Personal Reflections on Nelson Mandela's Legacy," at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the Landon Room of the Holiday Inn Manhattan at the Campus.

The lecture, open to the public, was organized by the conflict resolution program in the School of Family Studies and Human Services, which is in the university's College of Human Ecology. It is part of the Vernon Larson International Lecture Series sponsored by Friends of International Programs.

Amy Biehl was a 26-year-old Stanford graduate who was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the role of women and gender rights during South Africa's transition from the apartheid regime to democracy. As a human rights activist, she worked toward ensuring all South Africans, regardless of race or gender, assumed their rightful place in the new South Africa.

Linda Biehl and her late husband, Peter, supported amnesty for their daughter's convicted killers, four young black South Africans who were fighting to end apartheid and saw all whites as their oppressors. They shared their daughter's belief in the power of restorative justice, said Terrie McCants, program director for the graduate and undergraduate certificates in conflict resolution and co-coordinator for the conflict analysis and trauma studies minor.

Two of the four became social activists in their community and work for the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust, founded by the Biehls to develop and empower youth living in challenged and vulnerable communities in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Biehl credits Nelson Mandela with helping her and her late husband make sense of their daughter's death and eventually forgive the young men who killed her, she says.

Their work has been featured such shows as "60 Minutes," "Oprah" and the "Today Show." Biehl has been awarded the highest honor given to a non-South African, the Companions of O.R. Tambo, and was the first Greeley Scholar for Peace at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

A reception will follow the lecture. Support for Biehl's presentation also came from the university provost's Academic Excellence Fund, the School of Leadership Studies, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Haden, Ray Streeter, Noble Hospitality and the diversity office at Kansas State University.

UPDATE 2/4/2014 8:00 a.m. -- The original article has been modified to change the date of the event to Feb. 5.  The talk was to take place on Feb. 4 but was rescheduled due to hazardous weather conditions.

UPDATE 2/4/2014 7:30 p.m. -- Despite the university's Manhattan campus being closed on Feb. 5, the lecture will continue as scheduled at the Holiday Inn Manhattan at the Campus.  Attendees are encouraged to use their best judgment when traveling to and from the event.

Prepared by Human Ecology communications

This article was posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.