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Upcoming Events

Debating Public Policy: Engagement or Divestment

On Friday, February 10th at 1:00pm as part of our Debating Public Policy Series, the Program for Public Discourse will be co-sponsoring a faculty debate on whether engagement is a better tool than divestment for affecting real change related to ESG issues for investors.

  • In Favor: Olga Hawn, Ph.D., Faculty Director, Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability
  • Opposed: Gerald Cohen, Ph.D., Chief Economist, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
  • Moderator: Ashley Teague, Kenan Scholar, Class of 2023

  • This debate will occur during the Kenan Scholars Program's day long symposium on Charting a Career in Sustainability. Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) has become a major talking point for a growing number of financial and corporate firms driven by a desire for values-based investing while delivering competitive financial returns. This symposium will feature leading industry experts who will discuss career paths in sustainability along with the opportunities and risks of an ESG-centered approach to decision-making.

    This symposium is open to the public and is scheduled to last from 9:30am - 2:30pm. Complimentary lunch and networking mixer for all attendees. Space is limited.

    Event sponsors:
  • Kenan Scholars Program
  • Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • UNC Global
  • UNC Program for Public Discourse
  • Date: February 10, 2023
    Times: 1:00pm – 2:00 PM
    Audience: Public
    Venue: The Carolina Club

    Abbey Speaker Series: The Future of Affirmative Action

    The Future of Affirmative Action

    Register Here!

    On February 24 at 3:00pm, the Program for Public Discourse kicks off the spring semester with an Abbey Speaker Series event on the future of affirmative action. A panel of educators and scholars will discuss what is next for affirmative action in higher education after the Supreme Court’s ruling. This event is co-sponsored by the UNC General Alumni Association.
    Date: February 24, 2023
    Times: 03:00 pm – 04:30 pm
    Audience: Public Event
    The Future of Affirmative Action
    Glenn C. Loury is Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Economics at Brown University. He holds the B.A. in Mathematics (Northwestern) and the Ph.D. in Economics (M.I.T). As an economic theorist he has published widely and lectured throughout the world on his research. He is also among America’s leading critics writing on racial inequality. He has been elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economics Association, as a Member of the American Philosophical Society and of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, and as a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    The Future of Affirmative Action
    John McWhorter, teaches linguistics at Columbia University, as well as Western Civilization and music history. He specializes in language change and language contact, and is the author of The Missing Spanish Creoles, Language Simplicity and Complexity, and The Creole Debate. He has written extensively on issues related to linguistics, race, and other topics for Time, The New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, The New Republic and elsewhere, and has been a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic. For the general public he is the author of The Power of Babel, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, The Language Hoax, Words on the Move, Talking Back, Talking Black,and other books, including Nine Nasty Words and Woke Racism, both of which were New York Times bestsellers. He hosts the Lexicon Valley language podcast, has authored six audiovisual sets on language for the Great Courses company, and has written a twice-weekly newsletter for the New York Times since August 2021.
    The Future of Affirmative Action
    Rachel F. Moran is Distinguished and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at UC Irvine. Previously, she was the Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law and Dean Emerita at UCLA and the Robert D. and Leslie-Kay Raven Professor of Law at UC Berkeley. Moran is past President of the Association of American Law Schools, and in 2012, President Obama appointed her to the Permanent Committee of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise. As the American Bar Foundation’s inaugural Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law, Moran launched “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility” with Robert L. Nelson in 2015. Moran has published extensively on issues of educational equity, racial equality, and Latinx law and policy, including three recent articles on affirmative action in higher education.
    The Future of Affirmative Action

    Event Moderator

    Theodore M. Shaw (Ted) is the Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights. Shaw teaches Civil Procedure and Advanced Constitutional Law. His research areas include the Fourteenth Amendment, affirmative action, housing policies regarding fair housing. Shaw attended Columbia University Law School, practiced as a Trial Attorney in the Honors Program of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. He joined the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) where he worked for over 26 years. Shaw directed LDF’s education docket and in 2004, became its fifth Director-Counsel. Shaw previously taught at the University of Michigan Law School, where he played a key role in initiating a review of its admissions policy that was later upheld in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003 by the Supreme Court.

    Abbey Speaker Series: Faith and Abortion

    Faith and Abortion

    Register Here

    On March 22nd at 5:30 p.m., the UNC Program for Public Discourse hosts a hybrid Abbey Speaker Series event on the relationship between abortion and faith.
    Date: March 22, 2023
    Times: 05:30pm – 07:00pm
    Audience: Public
    Faith and Abortion
    Maharat Ruth Friedman is a member of the inaugural class of Yeshivat Maharat, which is the first institution to ordain Orthodox women as spiritual leaders and halakhic (legal) authorities. She serves as Maharat (clergy) at Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue in Washington, DC, where she performs all traditional rabbinic functions. She is also a proud member of the Washington Boards of Rabbis and sits on the Executive Committee of the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, of which she is also a member. Maharat Friedman is also a founding member of the Beltway VAAD. She and her husband Yoni are the proud parents of Ezra, Jobe and Evie, and their four-legged princess, Cocoa.
    Faith and Abortion
    Lauren W. Reliford, MSW is a passionate and mission-oriented public and population health professional focused on bridging the gap between social theory, spirituality, research, and practice and bringing them to the forefront of our major policy decisions. She currently serves as Political Director for Sojourners, an ecumenical Christian organization that seeks to discover the intersection of faith, politics, and culture through our magazine and putting that faith into action for social justice through our mobilizing work.
    Faith and Abortion
    Leah Libresco Sargeant is the author of Arriving at Amen and Building the Benedict Option. She is a convert from atheism to Catholicism who has worked as a policy analyst, a data journalist, and a curriculum developer at an organization teaching “defensive driving for your brain.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Plough, Comment, First Things, America, and other outlets. She runs Other Feminisms, a substack community focused on the dignity of dependence.
    Faith and Abortion

    Event Moderator

    Mara Buchbinder is a professor and vice chair of the department of social medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. She is also an adjunct professor of anthropology. She is a medical anthropologist whose work focuses on how patients, families, and healthcare providers navigate social and ethical challenges resulting from changes in medical technology, law, and health policy. Dr. Buchbinder is the author of Scripting Death: Stories of Assisted Dying in America and All in Your Head: Making Sense of Pediatric Pain, as well as the co-author of Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

    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 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.