New speaker series will promote constructive discourse

$8 million gift to fund speaker series in the UNC Program for Public Discourse.

Abbey couple

$8 million gift to fund speaker series in the UNC Program for Public Discourse.

A major gift from Nancy ’74 and Doug Abbey will foster meaningful public discourse about the most pressing issues of the day. Their $8 million investment establishes the Abbey Speaker SeriesOpens in new window in the Program for Public DiscourseOpens in new window in the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Four times each year, the Abbey Speaker Series will bring noteworthy scholars to campus — as individuals, in pairs or on panels — to share their perspectives about timely issues while fostering dialogue with others who think differently about the topic.

The inaugural Abbey Speaker Series event will be a virtual panel discussion on Feb. 23, “Defining Racial Justice in the 21st Century: Competing Perspectives and Shared Goals.” Anyone can registerOpens in new window to attend the free events offered through the Abbey Speaker Series.

With an $8 million total investment, the Abbeys’ gift creates another opportunity for the University to fortify its commitment to promoting democracyOpens in new window, which is one of eight strategic initiatives in the University’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public GoodOpens in new window. The Program for Public Discourse is one of the College’s major strategic priorities, and the program’s work is one of the University’s means for accomplishing the worthwhile objective of working constructively across differences in society, starting with promoting respect and listening.

“At Carolina, we prepare students to think critically about complex issues and find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. This commitment is more important now than ever,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “We are grateful to Nancy and Doug for creating more opportunities for our students to practice civic engagement and challenge assumed perspectives. The Program for Public Discourse brings together thought leaders from across political and intellectual divides to debate the critical issues of our day. I believe their gift will help our students thrive as engaged, thoughtful citizens and leaders.”

Read the complete Carolina Story to learn more about this gift…Opens in new window

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