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U.S. citizen, kidnapped by Colombian guerillas, to speak at Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - April 25, 2002

(New Orleans)—Tom Hargrove, a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped and held for ransom by the deadliest drug and terrorist group in Latin America, will speak at Loyola University New Orleans at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, 2002. The free lecture is open to the public and will take place in the St. Charles Room, Danna Center, on the main campus. The student-run University Programming Board sponsors this lecture.

Kidnapping of U. S. citizens working in foreign countries continues to be in the news as Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, was recently kidnapped and murdered. Hargrove is one of the few victims of kidnapping who will talk about the experience and explain how kidnapping and ransoming of Americans has become an industry.

Hargrove's ordeal inspired the film, Proof of Life, with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan. The film was based on the diary he kept and smuggled out of his prison in the Andes Mountains. He was held there in chains, under incredibly harsh conditions, while his wife, Susan, along with professional kidnap negotiators, bartered for his freedom.

Trained as an international agricultural communication specialist with a double undergraduate degree in agricultural science and journalism, he became involved with rice as an Army lieutenant during the Vietnam War. He was active in the Green Revolution for the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines for 19 years. He then joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, which was based in Colombia and was started by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations.

Hargrove has been speaking for the past five years on kidnapping, survival and terrorism for the military, security firms, kidnap and ransom insurance underwriters and government agencies. He has not spoken to the general public until recently and still teaches, with the title of Adjunct Professor of Dynamics of International Terrorism with the U.S. Joint Services Special Operations University and USAF Special Operations School.

The Hargroves have been featured on CBS's 60 Minutes, and 48 Hours, on the Discovery Channel, Fox Files, ABC's 20/20, and in Vanity Fair magazine.