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Announcing the Spring 2021 Abbey Speaker Series

This semester, the UNC Program for Public Discourse continues its mission to promote civic virtue and foster lively debate with a pair of virtual panel discussions: Defining Racial Justice in the 21st Century: Competing Perspectives and Shared Goals and The Future of Conservatism.
These events, curated and hosted in partnership with UNC faculty and leaders from fellow civic-minded organizations, are designed to model and interrogate the ways in which robust deliberation and honest and open discourse can help shape our public space.
As you read more about the events and the voices contributing to them below, we hope you’ll consider joining us in the months to come.

Defining Racial Justice in the 21st Century: Competing Perspectives and Shared Goals

On February 23rd at 5:30 pm, the Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies joins us in hosting Defining Racial Justice in the 21st Century: Competing Perspectives and Shared Goals. In the wake of a summer of protests against police brutality, the midst of an ongoing pandemic, and the aftermath of a contentious election, we’re bringing together a panel of Black academic, journalistic, religious, and political leaders to discuss and debate their different definitions of what racial justice looks like – and how it might be achieved – in the twenty-first century.


  • Jamelle Bouie, The New York Times and CBS News


  • Senator Valerie Foushee, North Carolina State Senate
  • Touré Reed, PhD, Illinois State University
  • Jacqueline C. Rivers, PhD, Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies

The Future of Conservatism

On March 23rd at 5:30 pm, in partnership with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University’s Arete Initiative, we’ll consider The Future of Conservatism. On a host of issues including populism, free trade, and nationalism, conservatives are no longer united. Now, perhaps more than ever, what it means to be a “conservative,” where conservatism is likely headed, and where, ideally, it should direct itself are open to debate. A panel of political thinkers with different views on conservatism will discuss these critical questions.


  • Jed Atkins, PhD, Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University


  • Patrick Deneen, PhD, University of Notre Dame
  • Yuval Levin, PhD, American Enterprise Institute
  • Daniel McCarthy, Intercollegiate Studies Institute
  • Ashleen Menchaca-Bagnulo, PhD, Texas State University
We look forward to sharing these discussions with the broader UNC community and the general public. As the semester progresses, we’ll provide further updates about these events, our developing programs for UNC students and faculty, and how we plan to explore next year’s initiative: Public Discourse and Democratic Norms.