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Upcoming Events

Speak Up! The Annual Speech Competition at UNC

Undergraduate students across the university are invited to participate in Speak Up! The Annual Speech Competition at UNC, co-hosted by the Program for Public Discourse and the Department of Communication. Students are welcome to prepare informative or persuasive speeches broadly related to this year’s theme, “On the Defining Issue of Our Time.” Potential formats might include policy speeches, calls to action, or call to attention. The winner will receive a cash prize of $500. Second and third place will receive $250 and $100 respectively. Space is limited, so please contact Professor Kevin Marinelli at by Monday, November 27 to schedule an audition or receive further information.
Date: December 5, 2023
Times: 12:30 p.m. – 01:45 p.m.
Audience: Undergradutes
Venue: Genome 1000

Abbey Speaker Series: Frank Bruni and Bari Weiss in Conversation

On January 22nd, 2024, at 6:00 pm, veteran journalists and former colleagues Frank Bruni and Bari Weiss reunite for a discussion of objectivity in journalism, as part of the Program for Public Discourses’ Abbey Speaker Series. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Free Press and host of the podcast Honestly. Bruni has been a journalist for more than three decades, including more than twenty-five years at The New York Times, the last ten of them as an op-ed columnist who appeared frequently as a television commentator. This event is open to the public and does not require registration. Pizza will be served after the event and students can earn CLE credit. If you're coming from out of town, please email to reserve seats and arrive by 5:50 pm the day of the event. Otherwise, seating is first come first served. This event is co-sponsored by Carolina Alumni.
Date: January 22, 2024
Times: 06:00 pm – 07:30 pm
Audience: Public Event
Bari Weiss is the founder and editor of The Free Press and host of the podcast Honestly. From 2017 to 2020 Weiss was an opinion writer and editor at The New York Times. Before that, she was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal and a senior editor at Tablet Magazine.

Weiss is the winner of the LA Press Club's 2021 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. She is also the winner of the Reason Foundation’s 2018 Bastiat Prize, which honors writing that “best demonstrates the importance of freedom with originality, wit, and eloquence.” In 2019, Vanity Fair called Weiss the Times's "star opinion writer."

Weiss is a proud Pittsburgh native. Her first book, “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” was the winner of a 2019 National Jewish Book Award. She lives with her wife and daughter in Los Angeles.
Frank Bruni has been a prominent journalist for more than three decades, including more than twenty-five years at The New York Times, the last ten of them as a nationally renowned op-ed columnist who appeared frequently as a television commentator. He was also a White House correspondent for the Times, its Rome bureau chief and, for five years, its chief restaurant critic. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including "The Beauty of Dusk," which reached #5 on both the hardcover nonfiction and the combined print and e-book nonfiction lists. In July 2021, he became a professor at Duke University, teaching media-oriented classes in the Sanford School of Public Policy. He continues to write his popular weekly newsletter for the Times and to produce occasional essays as one of the newspaper’s contributing opinion writers. A Carolina alumni and Morehead-Cain Scholar, Bruni began his career as a student reporter for The Daily Tar Heel.

Intertwined Histories of Social Justice within Middle Eastern American and African American Communities: A Conversation with Dr. Cornel West

A Conversation with Dr. Cornel West
Dr. Cornel West (Union Theological Seminary) will speak about the comparative movements, both historical and contemporary, and what we can glean from thinking broadly about our pasts and present. Sponsored by the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies in partnership with IAH, the Stone Center, Center for the Study of American South, the Program for Public Discourse, Dean of DEI, and Dean of Social Sciences and Global Programs.
For in-person attendance, visit the following link to reserve your free seat:
For virtual attendance, register at this Zoom link:
Date: January 30, 2024
Times: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Audience: Public

North Carolina Campus Discourse Leaders Conference (Application Only)

(Application Only) The Program for Public Discourse at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill invites scholars and practitioners of public discourse at institutions of higher education across North Carolina to attend the North Carolina Campus Discourse Leaders Conference that it will be hosting on April 5, 2024. Envisioned as the first of many such gatherings, the event is being co-organized by NC Campus Engagement, the Deliberative Citizenship Initiative at Davidson College, the Kernodle Center for Civic Life at Elon University and the Free Expression and Constructive Dialogue Task Force at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

There is growing interest in promoting constructive dialogue on college campuses so that we can better understand important issues from different points of view. Colleges and universities serve a critical function in helping students and citizens improve their skills in engaging with others on challenging topics facing our society. Many individuals and programs are advancing this work on their own campuses but may feel isolated and disconnected from similar efforts being implemented nearby. This conference will bring together representatives from a wide range of these initiatives and provide an opportunity to share insights and lessons learned from across North Carolina.

If you are actively working on improving the quality of public discourse, dialogue, debate, or deliberation on your college campus in either a curricular or co-curricular context, we encourage you to apply to attend this conference. The conference will catalyze discussions about how we can best equip students to engage in better public reasoning on challenging topics and how to make such conversations as inclusive and welcoming as possible. Participants will have an opportunity to share their approaches and challenges that they’ve experienced and learn from one another in highly interactive breakout discussions with colleagues at institutions that are both similar to and different from their own. Participants will leave the conference with a new network of colleagues from across North Carolina, new opportunities for collaboration on projects related to public discourse, and new ideas to consider and implement back on their campuses.

Space is limited, so please apply by December 1st at the link below. Slots are available for up to three representatives from each campus.

Date: April 5, 2024
Times: 10:00 am – 03:30 pm
Audience: By Invitation Only
Venue: TBD

Student Fellows

Agora Fellows

The Agora Fellows program provides undergraduate students a space to experiment with public discourse in a collaborative environment of their peers.

Faculty Outreach

Faculty Resources

We invite all faculty to schedule faculty consultations or participate in our seminars and workshops.



We seek to offer the broader UNC community and general public perspectives on important issues that they may not otherwise get on campus.

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