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Events Archive

Event Archive



Abbey Speaker Series: A Conversation with Irshad Manji

A Conversation with Irshad Manji
On September 20 at 5:30 pm, the Program for Public Discourse’s Abbey Speaker Series returns with a conversation in which Leah Cox interviews Irshad Manji. Manji is the author of Don’t Label Me and has criticized many conventional DEI training programs. Leah Cox is the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and the Chief Diversity Officer at UNC. This event is open to the public and does not require any registration. Pizza will be provided in the lobby after the event.
Date: September 20, 2023
Times: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Audience: Public
Venue: Carolina Union Auditorium
A Conversation with Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is the founder of Moral Courage College, which teaches people to turn contentious issues into constructive conversations and healthy teamwork, as well as the author of Don't Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times. A prize-winning leadership professor at New York University for many years, Irshad now teaches with Oxford University's Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights.
A Conversation with Irshad Manji
Dr. Leah Cox currently serves as the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In this capacity, she provides the leadership and vision for creating a more inclusive campus for students, faculty, and staff and works collaboratively with all members of the campus and surrounding community. Before joining Carolina, she served as the inaugural Vice President for Inclusion and Institutional Equity at Towson University. She also served as the Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia and spent many years working at Gallaudet University leading the university’s first minority student affairs office.

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
This event is postponed. We will communicate a new date as soon as one is confirmed 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:
https://go.unc.edu/CornelWest
For virtual attendance, register at this Zoom link:
https://go.unc.edu/West
Date: September 15, 2023
Times: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Audience: Public

Let’s Talk About It

The Program for Public Discourse has partnered with the Kidzu Children's Museum for a new event series. “Let’s Talk About It” is a series of sessions designed to explore difficult topics and provide tools to families and children in grades 2-5 to practice and promote civil discourse in the next generation. This program is free to the public, but registration is required.
Hard conversations about difficult topics can lead to hard and difficult feelings. Kidzu is teaming up with Breaking Taboo to arm your family with the tools needed to work through challenging emotions, and to ‘smooth out’ situations where a conversation has already digressed into troubling territory. Get hands-on and proactive as we work though tricky topics around feelings and mental health. Breaking Taboo is a non-profit with a mission of bolstering education and eradicating taboos around mental health and suicide prevention.
Participants have free access to play at Kidzu during the program.
Participants will receive a free return visit to Kidzu and coupons for Alfredo’s Pizza Villa. Those who attend all five sessions will receive a badge and special gift!
Register Here
Presented in coordination with the East Chapel Hill High School Civil Discourse project and made possible with support from NC Humanities.
Date: May 3, 2023
Times: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Audience: Public

Agora Fellows Present: Debate Balloon

Agora Fellows Present: Debate Balloon
The Debate Balloon is an engaging role-playing group activity where participants assume the persona of historical figures from the distant past to recent times. The premise of the story is that the world below has ended and the players find themselves on a balloon ascending to a new world. However, the balloon starts going down instead of up. The main solution open to the participants is to decide who gets to stay on the balloon. Each player introduces their character and gives a case for why they should stay. At the end of each round, one person leaves the balloon while still being able to vote in subsequent rounds. The game continues until the final individual has been determined!
This event is hosted by PPD's Agora Fellows.
This is a CLE event and includes free food!
Date: April 3, 2023
Times: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Audience: Students
Venue: Room 2518 A in the Carolina Union

Agora Fellows Present: Political Speed Dating

The Agora Fellows present “Political Speed Dating” an event to discuss big ideas, meet new people, and engage in discourse surrounding the issues of the day. This will be your chance to fire off an uninterrupted hot take to your fellow UNC students! Come meet your political soulmate on Friday March 31st at 5 PM in Room 3411 in the Carolina Union. The event will consist of rotating 90 second pairings where one person has the opportunity to give any opinion on any issue. This is your opportunity to meet people who share your viewpoints or have the chance to be persuaded on an issue you may disagree with! Agree or disagree, this event will be a fun way to engage with contemporary issues outside of online echo chambers! We hope to see you there!
This is a CLE event and includes free food!
Date: March 31, 2023
Times: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Audience: Students
Venue: Room 3411 in the Carolina Union

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 their 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.

Braver Angels Student Forum on Abortion

Braver Angels Student  Forum on Abortion
On March 21, the Program for Public Discourse Agora Fellows will host a public student forum on the topic of abortion. The event will be facilitated by Braver Angels ambassador Leah Sargeant who will also serve as a panelist for the Abbey Speaker Series event on Faith and Abortion on March 22.
This debate will utilize the Braver Angels format. As described on their website: "A Braver Angels Debate is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships."
Students can register to participate at go.unc.edu/PPDBA. Space is limited.
Date: March 21, 2023
Times: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Audience: Students Only
Venue: Room 3408 in the Carolina Union

Book Chat with Professor Nita Farahany presenting "The Battle For Your Brain" with Professor Ifeoma Ajunwa moderating

Join Professor Ifeoma Ajunwa for a fireside chat with Professor Nita Farahany as they discuss Professor Farahany’s new book, “The Battle for Your Brain: Defending Your Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology.” The Program for Public Discourse is co-sponsoring this event with the Artificial Intelligence Decision-Making Research (AI-DR) Program.
March 21, 2023 from 12 – 1 pm in Room 5042 at UNC School of Law (Van Hecke-Wettach Hall)
Lunch will be served so please RSVP to ensure an accurate head count.
For those who can’t attend in person, a Zoom webinar link will be sent at the time of registration.
Register here
Date: March 21, 2023
Times: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Audience: Public
Venue: Room 5042 in Van Hecke-Wettach Hall
AIDR: Book Chat
Nita Farahany, author of The Battle for Your Brain: Defending Your Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology(St. Martin’s Press 2023), is the Robinson O. Everett Distinguished Professor of Law & PhilosophyandFounding Director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society. She is a widely published scholar on the ethics of emerging technologiesand frequent commentator for nationalmedia and radioand keynote speaker at eventsincluding TED, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the World Economic Forum, and judicial conferencesworldwide.From 2010-2017, she served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study ofBioethical Issues. She currently serves on the National Advisory Councilfor the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke, as an elected member of the American Law Institute, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, immediate past President of the International Neuroethics Society, ELSI advisor to the NIH Brain Initiativeand to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, member of the Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disordersand the Standing Committee on Biotechnology Capabilities and NationalSecurity Needsfor the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Global Future Council on Frontier Risksfor the World Economic Forum. She is the Reporter for the Drafting Committee on updating the Uniform Determination of Death Committeefor the Uniform Law Commission(ULC), as well as a ULC Commissioner. Farahany is a co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law and the Biosciencesand on theBoard of AdvisorsforScientific American. She also serves on scientific and ethics advisory boards for corporations. Farahany holds an AB (Genetics) from Dartmouth College, an ALM (Biology) from HarvardUniversity, and a JD, MA, and Ph.D. (Philosophy) fromDuke University.
AIDR: Book Chat

Event Moderator

Dr. Ifeoma Ajunwa, J.D., Ph.D., is an award-winning tenured law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law where she is the Founding Director of the Artificial Intelligence Decision-Making Research (AI-DR) Program at UNC Law. She is a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University since 2017 and a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School (2022-2023). She was a 2019 recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and a 2018 recipient of the Derrick A. Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Professor Ajunwa's book, The Quantified Worker, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in April 2023.

Abbey Speaker Series: The Future of Affirmative Action

The Future of Affirmative Action

Register Here for Zoom!

On February 24 at 3:00pm, the Program for Public Discourse kicks off the spring semester with an Abbey Speaker Series hybrid 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.

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