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Upcoming Events

Agora Fellows: Discourse – The Politics of Academia

Agora Fellows: Discourse - The Politics of Academia
Our undergraduate Agora Fellows meet for discourse on the state of politics in academia.
The Agora Fellows meet bi-weekly on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm in Bynum 336.
Undergraduate students can inquire about becoming an Agora Fellow here.
Date: October 28, 2021
Times: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Audience: Agora Fellows
Venue: Bynum 336

Abbey Speaker Series: Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide
Discussions of contemporary America often focus on the perceived differences between rural and urban residents. Are the lives and interests of rural and urban Americans really all that different?  How can city-dwellers, suburbanites, and rural residents better understand each other? 
For this Abbey Speaker Series event, and as part of this year's Public Discourse and Democracy theme, the UNC Program for Public Discourse convenes a panel of experts to discuss how citizens can better understand and bridge the rural-urban divide.
This hybrid event will be held on November 4th, from 5:30 - 7:00 pm in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium, in the Florence and James Peacock Atrium of the FedEx Center for Global Education.
For the best viewing experience, we recommend that people attend in person. We do, however, offer a Zoom livestream for those who cannot make it to campus, and we will do our best to provide a good experience for our online audience.
This event is co-sponsored by the Arete Initiative, part of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

Click here to register

Date: November 4, 2021
Times: 05:30 pm – 07:00 pm
Audience: Public Event
Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide
Samar Ali is Co-Chair of the Project on Unity & American Democracy and a Research Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University, where she works at the intersection of national security, economic development, and human rights. Originally from the small town of Waverly, Tennessee, Ali credits her experience growing up there with teaching her how to connect with humanity and understand the responsibility that comes with being part of a lifelong community. After serving as a White House Fellow for the Obama administration, Ali returned to Tennessee and joined the administration of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, where she worked as the assistant commissioner of international affairs. Ali's current research focuses on how to achieve positive compromise through promoting conflict-resolution best practices among people, communities, and nations experiencing polarization.
Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide
Chris Arnade is a writer and photographer who covers addiction and poverty in the United States of America. After receiving a PhD in Physics from Johns Hopkins University, Arnade worked on Wall Street for twenty years before exiting the industry in 2012 to begin documenting addiction in the Bronx. Since then, his work has appeared in numerous publications, including The GuardianThe New York Times, and others. His most recent book, Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America, explores poverty and addiction throughout the United States and the divide between the country’s upwardly mobile and urban-based “Front Row” and those lacking the necessary credentials and advantages in the rural-based “Back Row.”
Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide
Elizabeth Corey is the Honors Program Director and Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors Program at Baylor University, where she teaches courses on political science and great texts in the university’s Interdisciplinary Core. Her writing concerns what it means to be a traditionalist in a progressive society and has appeared in a broad range of publications, including First Things, National Affairs, and The Wall Street Journal. Her recent writings for Law & Liberty deal with the meaning of civility - and its necessity - in times of political polarization.
Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

Event Moderator

Marc Hetherington is the Raymond H. Dawson Distinguished Bicentennial Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His focus is on the American electorate and the polarization of public opinion. Previously, he taught at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Vanderbilt University, and Bowdoin College. Hetherington has published several books and over a dozen articles in academic journals. His most recent book, Prius Or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide, co-written with fellow UNC faculty member Dr. Jonathan Weiler, explores the psychological aspects of the United States’ deadlocked politics.

Debating Public Policy Series: Voting Reform – An Agonistic Dialogue

Voting Reform - An Agonistic Dialogue
Across the volatile landscape of American politics today, perhaps few issues remain more polarizing than voting reform. For this Debating Public Policy Series event, the UNC Program for Public Discourse hosts an agonistic dialogue on the topic Monday, November 8, at 8:00 p.m. on Zoom. The dialogue features UNC Political Science Professor Jason Roberts and Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics Fellow and UNC alumnus Douglas Heye, who will share their competing perspectives on the contentious issue. The dialogue is moderated by Rick Su, Professor of Law at UNC.
As always, we also invite audience questions to help round out what promises to be a robust discussion.

Register here

Date: November 8, 2021
Times: 08:00 pm – 09:00 pm
Audience: Public Event
Venue: Zoom
Voting Reform - An Agonistic Dialogue
Jason Roberts is a Professor in the UNC Department of Political Science specializing in American political institutions, with an emphasis on the U.S. Congress. He earned his B.S. in Political Science from the University of North Alabama (1998), his M.A. in Political Science from Purdue University (2000), and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis (2005). Before joining the faculty at UNC, Professor Roberts was an assistant professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include parties and procedures in the U.S. Congress and congressional elections. Professor Roberts’ work has appeared in numerous journals, including the American Journal on Political Science and Legislative Studies Quarterly. He is currently working on a project that explores the role of ballot type on the competitiveness of congressional elections in the United States.
Voting Reform - An Agonistic Dialogue
Douglas Heye is a former Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and has served in leading communications positions in the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, the Republican National Committee, and the George W. Bush Administration. Heye also previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, garnering bi-partisan praise for his team-building, communications, and strategic planning abilities. He has written for a number of publications, including U.S. News & World Report, POLITICO, The Hill, and Capitol File magazine. Heye graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994.
Voting Reform - An Agonistic Dialogue

Event Moderator

Rick Su is a Professor of Law at the UNC-CH School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of local government law, immigration, and federalism. His research focuses on the intersection between cities and immigration. His work has appeared in the Columbia Law Review, the William & Mary Law Review, the Emory Law Journal, and the North Carolina Law Review. Professor Su received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2001 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2004. After graduating from law school, he clerked for The Honorable Stephen Reinhardt on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and worked in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before joining the Carolina Law faculty in 2019, Professor Su taught at the University at Buffalo School of Law and was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School in 2015 and Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 2018.

Student Fellows

Student Opportunities

We connect our students directly with our speakers through classroom visits and offer UNC-CH students the chance to involve themselves in the PPD as Agora Fellows:

Faculty Outreach

Faculty Collaboration

We invite all faculty 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.