E.N. Thompson Forum On World Issues

E.N. Thompson Forum On World Issues

For tickets to this year's EN Thompson Forum, CLICK HERE.

Over the past two decades, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has established itself as one of the preeminent speakers series in higher education. Past Thompson Forum events have featured, among many others: Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; Holocaust survivor and peace activist Elie Wiesel; Camelia Sadat, the daughter of Anwar Sadat and founder of the Sadat Peace Institute; Maki Mandela, daughter of the former South African president; the Rev. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University; Hedrick Smith, journalist and expert on the former Soviet Union; Kennedy Administration Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, Lied Center for Performing Arts, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It was established in 1988 with the purpose of bringing a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and people of Nebraska to promote understanding and encourage debate.

Programming Committee

John Anderson
Marco Abel
Richard Bischoff
Anne Brandt
Katie Cervantes
Ann Chang
Lawrence Chatters
Linda Crump
Josh Davis
Pete Ferguson
Judi gaiashkibos
Sara Gilliam
Ted Hamann
Abla Hasan
Alice Kang
Jody Kellas
Victoria Kovar
Pat Leach
Brian Lepard
Craig Lewis
Linda Major
Hany Makkawy
T.J. McDowell
Adam Morfeld
Clint! Runge
Andy Schadwinkel
Chris Sommerich
Francisco Souto
Bill Stephan
Susan Stibal
Jami Holbein Swanson
Art Thompson
Isabel Velazquez
Madoka Wayoro
Annette Wetzel
Charles Wilson
Dave Wilson
Christina Yao

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Nadia Murad

September 17, 2019 - 6:00 p.m.

"From the Front Lines: Human Rights, Sex Trafficking, and the Survival of the Yazidi People"

Nadia Murad, co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, is a global advocate for survivors of sexual violence and genocide. Nadia’s life was brutally interrupted in 2014 when ISIS attacked her homeland in Sinjar to ethnically cleanse Iraq of all minority groups, including the Yazidis. Like many minority groups, the Yazidis, have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women, in particular, have suffered much, as they have been, and continue to be victims of sexual violence.

Much of Murad’s advocacy work is focused on meeting with global leaders to raise awareness about Daeesh and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidi people. Nadia is the President and Chairman of Nadia’s Initiative which actively works to persuade governments and other organizations to support efforts to rebuild the Yazidi homeland financially. Nadia will be speaking at the E. N. Thompson Forum on World Issues on “From the Front Lines: Human Rights, Sex Trafficking, and the Survival of the Yazidi People” on September 17th at 6:00 p.m. Her talk will be translated by Yazidi activist, co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative, and UNL alum Abid Shamdeen.

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Leymah Gbowee

October 2, 2019 - 6:00 p.m.

"Mighty Be Our Powers: Building Women, Building Peace"

Leymah Gbowee, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, is a peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and is the founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, the founding head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative,and co-founder and former Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberian Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). Ms. Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 – is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War, and in the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She holds an M.A. in Conflict Transformation and a Doctor of Laws honoris causa.

Ms. Gbowee is an advisor for numerous organizations, and has held distinguished fellowships at Barnard College and Union Theological Seminary. She serves as a Sustainable Development Goals Advocate for the United Nations and as a Member of the World Refugee Council. In 2016, she was awarded the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize for Peace in Africa by the Millennium Excellence Foundation. In 2017, she was selected by the UN Secretary General to serve as a Member of his High Level Advisory Board on Mediation. In 2018, she was appointed to the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council during Canada's G7 Presidency.

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Farah Pandith

October 8, 2019 - 6:00 p.m.

"How We Win: Mobilizing Youth in the Fight Against Violent Extremism"

Farah Pandith, is an author, foreign policy strategist, and former diplomat. A world-leading expert and pioneer in countering violent extremism, she is a frequent media commentator and public speaker. She served as a political appointee under Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and most recently she was the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities, serving both Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. She has served on the National Security Council, at the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in various senior roles. She has also served on the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, chairing its task force on countering violent extremism. She is a senior fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her book is How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat

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