Promoting Constructive Discourse

Abbey couple

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 Series in the Program for Public Discourse in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina at 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 register 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 democracy, which is one of eight strategic initiatives in the University’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good. 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…

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