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Events Archive

Event Archive



Agora Fellows: Dialogue – How can UNC better serve its community?

Agora Fellows: Debate
The Agora Fellows meet bi-weekly on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm.
Interested in becoming a Fellow? Let us know here.
Date: April 21, 2022
Times: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Audience: Agora Fellows
Venue: Bynum 111

Agora Fellows: Debate – Should Congress abolish the filibuster?

Agora Fellows: Debate
The Agora Fellows meet bi-weekly on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm.
Interested in becoming a Fellow? Let us know here.
Date: April 7, 2022
Times: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Audience: Agora Fellows
Venue: Bynum 111

Abbey Speaker Series: Journalism and Democracy

Journalism and Democracy
We often hear that democracy requires a free press, but what exactly is the role of the media in 21st-century America?
Should journalists strive to be objective? Is an internet connection the only requirement for the job? How has the decline of local news and the nationalization of media impacted American democracy? Can anything be done to reverse this trend?

On April 5th at 5:30 p.m., the UNC Program for Public Discourse, General Alumni Association, and Duke University's Polis: Center for Politics bring together journalists from local and national publications for Journalism and Democracy, a hybrid Abbey Speaker Series event about journalism's role in promoting and maintaining democratic values.
Date: April 5, 2022
Times: 05:30 pm – 07:00 pm
Audience: Public Event
Journalism and Democracy
McKay Coppins is a journalist and author currently working as a staff writer at The Atlantic, covering journalism, religion, and Republican politics. Coppins has written for numerous publications, including Newsweek, The New York Times, and Buzzfeed News, where he covered the Romney and Trump presidential campaigns. In 2015, Coppins authored The Wilderness, which chronicled changes in the Republican party in the wake of the 2012 election. Recently, Coppins published an exposé detailing the purchase and closure of local newspapers by financial firms and the negative impact on the communities they serve.  
Journalism and Democracy
John Hood ’88 is president of the John William Pope Foundation and a syndicated columnist covering politics and public policy whose work appears regularly in newspapers servicing over 50 North Carolina communities. In addition to writing for national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, Hood has authored seven nonfiction books covering topics in advertising, business, political history, and public policy. Hood currently teaches at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and holds a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Journalism and Democracy
Nafari Vanaski is a freelance writer who worked in newspapers for 17 years. After graduating from Hampton University in 1999, Vanaski worked variously as a copy editor, news editor, and columnist for publications in southeastern North Carolina and Pittsburgh, including Star-News and the Pittsburg Tribune-Review. In 2016, Vanaski left the newspaper industry, later describing her negative experiences with editors when reporting on police brutality and how objectivity is often cited to avoid accurately recounting the realities of racism as a reason for her departure. 
Journalism and Democracy

Event Moderator

Molly Worthen is a freelance journalist and an associate professor of history in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on North American religious and intellectual history, and she teaches courses in global Christianity, North American religious and intellectual culture, and the history of politics and ideology. Worthen is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and has written about religion and politics for The New Yorker, Slate, The American Prospect, Foreign Policy, and other publications. Her current book project focuses on the history of charisma in America.

Agora Fellows: Debate – Should universities (be allowed to) practice affirmative action?

Agora Fellows: Debate
Understood broadly as practices that “permit the consideration of race, national origin, sex,or disability, along with other criteria, … to prevent the recurrence of discrimination in the future,” affirmative action policies have been actively struggled over since they were determined to be legal by the Supreme Court in 1978. Most recently, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases challenging affirmative action policies at Harvard and UNC. Depending on the Court’s ruling, such policies may be expanded, restricted, or even banned entirely. Such a moment inspires many questions. What should affirmative action entail, and how should it be practiced? To what extent has U.S. society changed since 1978, and do those changes demand changes in the law and university policy? More fundamentally, how should we define concepts like race and discrimination, and who determines which groups deserve protection?
Participants should read the following before the event: It's Time for an Honest Conversation about Affirmative Action.
The Agora Fellows meet bi-weekly on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm.
Interested in becoming a Fellow? Let us know here.
Date: March 24, 2022
Times: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Audience: Agora Fellows
Venue: Bynum 110

Debating Public Policy Series: What To Do About China? Taiwan and the Future of US/China Relations

Debating Public Policy Series: What To Do About China?

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For this Debating Public Policy Series event, we and the Carolina Asia Center host a dialogue between different perspectives on the best approach to U.S. relations with China, particularly regarding Taiwan. The discussion features interlocutors June Dreyer, Eric Huang, and Shelley Rigger, and is moderator by Klaus Larres.
As always, we also invite audience questions to help round out what promises to be a robust discussion.
Date: March 9, 2022
Times: 07:00 pm – 08:15 pm
Audience: Public Event
Venue: Zoom
Debating Public Policy Series: What To Do About China?
June Dreyer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami where she teaches courses on China, U.S. defense policy, and international relations. Dreyer is currently a senior fellow in the Asia Program of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Formerly senior Far East specialist at the Library of Congress, Dreyer has also served as Asia policy advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and as commissioner of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission established by the U.S. Congress. Dreyer has written extensively about the Chinese military, Asian-Pacific security issues, China-Taiwan relations and Chinese foreign policy, and her most recent book, China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition, provides historical context and analysis of the challenges facing China in these various sectors. Dreyer holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from Wellesley College and a master’s in East Asian Studies and a doctorate in Government and Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University.
Debating Public Policy Series: What To Do About China?
Shelley Rigger is Brown Professor of Political Science at Davidson College and a senior fellow in the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Rigger has been studying and visiting Taiwan for almost four decades. She has served as a consultant for the US government on East Asian national security issues and has served as a visiting professor at National Chengchi University in Taipei and a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. She has written for a range of publications on Taiwan’s domestic politics and the issue of national identity in Taiwan-China relations. Rigger’s current research interests include the effects of cross-strait economic interactions on Taiwanese people’s perceptions of Mainland China. Her most recent book, The Tiger Leading the Dragon: How Taiwan Propelled China’s Economic Rise, explores the impact of these interactions and the ways Taiwanese firms and individuals altered Chinese business practices. Rigger holds a bachelor’s in Pubic and International Affairs from Princeton University and a doctorate in Government from Harvard University.
Debating Public Policy Series: What To Do About China?
Eric Yu-Chua Huang is the Kuomintang (KMT) 's representative in Washington D.C. and formerly served as the party's spokesperson and deputy director of international affairs. Huang joined the KMT party headquarters in 2014 and served as the international spokesperson for the KMT's presidential candidate during Taiwan's 2016 and 2020 presidential election campaigns. He has also worked as a legislative aide for a KMT legislator representing a constituency in Taiwan's capital, Taipei City, where his portfolio included national security and foreign relations and constituent services and youth organizing. Huang previously served as a lecturer on international affairs at Tamkang University, a visiting scholar at Fudan University, and a non-residential research fellow at National Policy Foundation. Huang graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a master's degree in international relations; he earned his bachelor's degree in international relations at the University of Virginia.
Debating Public Policy Series: What To Do About China?

Event Moderator

Klaus Larres is the Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor of History and International Affairs and director of the Krasno Global Affairs & Business Council and Krasno Global Events Series at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His focus is the global politics of the U.S., China, Germany & the European Union, and the United Kingdom. Larres recently served as a counselor and senior policy adviser at the German Embassy in Beijing, and previously served as a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing and a non-residential senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. His most recent book, Uncertain Allies: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Threat of a United Europe, examines the transatlantic relations during the Nixon era and the ways it informed the U.S.’ relationship with the European Union across the Bush, Obama, and Trump presidencies. Larres holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Cologne.

Leading Controversial Conversations: Teaching Argumentation and Debate

Teaching Argumentation and Debate

Register here through the Center for Faculty Excellence

This semester, the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Program for Public Discourse invite UNC faculty to participate in a series of three workshops designed to empower educators across the curriculum with the necessary tools to facilitate robust discourse across controversial terrain.
This workshop is premised on the idea that there is often no way around difficult discussions in the classroom: the only way is through them. The workshop suggests strategies and concrete activities for encouraging students to take argumentative risks and be open to comparatively charitable exchange on the basis of evidence, all with the goal of fostering a productive culture of argument at UNC.
Date: March 8, 2022
Times: 03:00 pm – 04:15 pm
Audience: UNC Faculty
Venue: Center for Faculty Excellence, Online
Teaching Argumentation and Debate

Event Moderator

Kevin Marinelli serves as Executive Director of the Program for Public Discourse and teaches in the Department of Communication. He teaches courses in rhetorical studies, and his scholarship centers on public argument. He has published essays in Rhetoric Society Quarterly and Argumentation and Advocacy, including his most recent essay on the emergence of Black Lives Matter. Kevin also leads the Agora Fellows, a group of undergraduate students committed to the study and practice of public discourse in contemporary democracy. Currently, Kevin is investigating practices of rhetorical citizenship.
Teaching Argumentation and Debate
Emily Boehm is a PPD Faculty Affiliate and an educational developer and evolutionary biologist working with faculty members to bring active and inclusive learning methods to their classrooms, leading the CFE’s initiatives for faculty new to UNC. She also serves as the co-facilitator for the Faculty Administrator Development Program.

Agora Fellows: Dialogue – Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Agora Fellows: Dialogue
On February 24th Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine following multiple assurances by Russian leadership that it would not do so. This action can be viewed as the latest escalation in a conflict dating back to a Ukrainian revolution in 2014, or more broadly as a new entry in the geopolitical struggle between East and West. At its heart, however, it is a moment of extreme violence and an existential crisis for the people in Ukraine and the surrounding region.
The United States and other NATO countries have leveraged economic sanctions against Russia but face criticism for doing too little. Others argue that there is hypocrisy inherent to any action the U.S. and its allies might take against Russia. Russian leadership, for its part, views Ukraine as a threat to its ability to maintain its own security.
This convening of the Agora Fellows will be discussing this event in order to meaningfully meet the Program for Public Discourse’s mission to “strengthen students’ capacities for public discourse, enabling them to serve as better citizens, civic leaders, and stewards of our democracy.” Whether you have strong feelings regarding potential responses the U.S. might take, or just want to learn more about what’s going on, we hope you will join us.
The Agora Fellows meet bi-weekly on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm.
Interested in becoming a Fellow? Let us know here.
Date: March 3, 2022
Times: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Audience: Agora Fellows
Venue: Bynum 110

Civil Discourse in Action

Civil Discourse in Action

Register here.

Civil discourse is at the very heart of the American project of self-government, yet its practice today seems to be in peril. The conversation on civil discourse in America has focused mainly on diagnosing the problem, rarely on solutions. Yet a number of private organizations have been making tremendous headway in teaching Americans to discuss controversial issues across the divide. Some of these organizations are well known, some uncelebrated. But together, they are a beacon of hope.
On February 23rd at 12:00 pm EST, Baylor in Washington hosts an online panel discussion on successful techniques for improving our culture of civil discourse
Presented by Baylor in Washington and the Chataqua Institution with support from the Duke University Civil Discourse Project and the UNC Program for Public Discourse.
Date: February 23, 2022
Times: 12:00 pm –
Audience: Public Event
Venue: Online, Zoom
Civil Discourse in Action
Michael E. Hill has served as the 18th President of Chautauqua Institution since 2017. His tenure has ushered in a fresh, expanded vision for the Institution as it approaches its sesquicentennial in 2024, with emphasis on building its brand and thought leadership through a focus on expanding engaged dialogue in the nation, an evolution to year-round programming, and revitalizing “The Chautauqua Movement.” Prior to his appointment at Chautauqua, Hill was president and CEO of Youth For Understanding USA and previously served in executive leadership positions at a variety of Washington-based arts, cultural and social service organizations. He is a member and Secretary of St. Bonaventure University’s Board of Trustees, a member of the Robert H. Jackson Center Board of Directors and a member of the Leadership Network of the American Enterprise Institute. He is currently completing his Ed.D. at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
Civil Discourse in Action
Christy Vines is the President of Ideos Institute, a Christian research and practice institute committed to understanding and advancing the field of empathic intelligence and its role in political and social polarization, and the founding organization of the National Day of Dialogue. A published writer and international speaker on topics at the intersection of faith, conflict transformation, and peacemaking, her work has been published in the Washington Post, Religion News Service, Capital Commentary, and Christianity Today. She is also the Executive Producer of the newly released documentary film, Dialogue Lab: America.
Civil Discourse in Action
Todd Breyfogle is Executive Director of the Executive Leadership Seminars for the Aspen Institute, overseeing a number of seminar offerings, including the Aspen Executive Seminar on leadership, values and the good society. He is the editor of Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern (University of Chicago Press, 1999), co-editor of Philosophy, Politics, and the Conversation of Mankind (Colorado College, 2016), and author of On Creativity, Liberty, Love and the Beauty of the Law (Bloomsbury, 2017). Before joining the Aspen Institute, Todd was a Fellow and Program Officer at Liberty Fund (where he gained extensive experience organizing and facilitating great books discussions) and taught in and directed the Honors Program at the University of Denver. A Colorado native, he earned his B.A. at Colorado College (Phi Beta Kappa) in Classics-History-Politics. He attended Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), where he read Ancient and Modern History and Patristic and Modern Theology. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought (as a Century Fellow and Javitz Fellow).
Civil Discourse in Action
David Blankenhorn is president and co-founder of Braver Angels. He co-founded the National Fatherhood Initiative in 1995, founded the Institute for American Values in 1988, and has authored or co-edited 14 books. He grew up in Mississippi and now lives with his family in New York City.
Civil Discourse in Action

Event Moderator

David Corey is the Director of Baylor in Washington and a professor of Political Science focusing on political philosophy in the Honors Program at Baylor University. He is also an affiliated member of the departments of Philosophy and Political Science. He is the author of two books, The Just War Tradition (with J. Daryl Charles) (2012) and The Sophists in Plato’s Dialogues (2015).

Agora Fellows: Dialogue – What is gender?

Agora Fellows: Dialogue - What is gender?
Gender is both novel and banal. On one hand, people have thought and lived with various gender norms for a very long time, and being (or performing, as Judith Butler puts it) woman, man, or otherwise may appear so obvious, so common-sense, that it is not worth exploring. On the other hand, gender has clearly been a topic of great (even international) concern and disagreement for decades, with struggles playing out across the realms of politics, economics, education, and popular culture. Today, gendered struggles and struggles over gender are particularly apparent in swimming lanes, high school bathrooms, passports, #tradwives, and fashion. What is the nature of these struggles, and (why) do they matter? More broadly, how are genders constructed and lived?
Students participating in this dialogue should read the prefaces to Judith Butler's Gender Trouble in preparation, available here.
The Agora Fellows meet bi-weekly on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm.
Interested in becoming a Fellow? Let us know here.
Date: February 17, 2022
Times: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Audience: Agora Fellows
Venue: Bynum 110

What Universities Owe Democracy: A Conversation with Ronald J. Daniels

What Universities Owe Democracy

Register to attend in person or online. Space is limited for in-person attendance.

Universities play an indispensable role within modern democracies. But this role is often overlooked or too narrowly conceived, even by universities themselves. In What Universities Owe Democracy, Ronald J. Daniels, the president of Johns Hopkins University, argues that — at a moment when liberal democracy is endangered and more countries are heading toward autocracy than at any time in generations — it is critical for today’s colleges and universities to reestablish their place in democracy.
During this hybrid event, President Daniels will discuss his new book followed by an audience Q&A.
This event is sponsored by The Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill and its Royster Society of Fellows, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Program for Public Discourse, the Carolina Seminar Higher Education Working Group, and the Democracy Initiative within the Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good Strategic Plan.
Date: February 16, 2022
Times: 03:00 pm – 04:30 pm
Audience: Public Event
Venue: Wilson Library - Pleasants Family Room; Online