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Democracy & Debate 2021-22 Events

The University of Michigan’s Democracy & Debate events provide an opportunity for learning and engagement across multiple platforms. Our collective goal is to share unique engagement opportunities that address the breadth of elements that constitute a democratic society. We encourage you to participate as an active member of our community.

These events seek to consider broadly the intersections between democracy and arenas that shape our collective experiences. They provide opportunities to examine the crucial intersection between democracy and racial and social justice and invitations to explore the impact of the relationship between democracy and our environments, from the arts to policy, from social media to climate change. The suite of events also examine pressures on democracies locally, nationally, and globally. All of the programs invite discussion and reflection on free speech, the exchange of ideas, and the responsibilities of members of a democratic society.

Through these activities, we seek to establish habits of active and informed democratic engagement in the years between presidential elections, as we continue to grapple with the multiple challenges that confront our nation and our world. Our list of events will grow, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Dec 8, 2021 4:00 PM1120 Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium

This in-person event is open to current University of Michigan students, faculty, and staff. Doors open at 3:30 pm, registration and check-in is required. U-M COVID related health policies will be followed including wearing masks and checking of the ResponsiBLUE app.


1120 Weill Hall, Anneberg Auditorium

735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The Weiser Diplomacy Center at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the American Academy of Diplomacy will co-host a discussion on China and the challenges facing the U.S.-China relationship. These challenges include managing disputes in areas such as the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea; addressing developments in Hong Kong and Xinjiang; and navigating tensions over economic issues related to cybersecurity, intellectual property, and transparency in trade. Bilateral relations also occur in a shifting geostrategic landscape as China strengthens its continental linkages through the Belt and Road Initiative while the United States refocuses on its vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. 

An expert panel will explore elements of this relationship:


  • David Shear, Senior adviser at McLarty Associates, a global strategic advisory firm. Chairman of the National Association of Japan-America Societies
  • Craig Allen, sixth President of the United States-China Business Council (USCBC), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing over 200 American companies doing business with China
  • Ambassador Sylvia Stanfield, U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam from 1999-2002 and a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service
  • Moderator Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, Retired 41- year career U.S. Foreign Service, current Senior Vice President of the Middle East Institute
Dec 9, 2021 12:00 PMVirtual

EJ Lunchtime Lecture Series

Georgia State University School of Public Health professor Dr. Christina Hempfill Fuller will present a lecture titled, “Seeing the forest and the trees: Rectifying air pollution injustice with green infrastructure.”

Dec 9, 2021 12:00 PMVirtual

This expert panel will help us to understand how systems of racism and sexism support and maintain each other, discuss recent efforts to grapple with these issues at Michigan, frame them within a broader theoretical and political context and then provide suggestions on how to move from intention to action and how to enact structural change that is transformational and sustainable.

- Elizabeth Cole, Faculty Associate Director, National Center for Institutional Diversity; Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Psychology, and Afroamerican and African Studies
- Elizabeth González, Education & Training Program Manager, Spectrum Center
- SaraEllen Strongman, Assistant Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies
- Ruby C. Tapia, Chair, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Associate Professor, English Language & Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies

Moderator: Anna Kirkland, Director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies; Political Science, Sociology, and Health Management & Policy (by courtesy)

Jan 24, 2022 9:00 AMVirtual

As the global community continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, issues of sustainability and development remain as critical to wellbeing as ever. Indeed, the experience of the pandemic only brings home how progress on such sustainability and development goals as ecosystem conservation, greater equality and justice, stronger institutions, and transformative actions are necessary to improve our common future. The Sustainability and Development Initiative at the University of Michigan is excited to announce a call for abstracts for the 3rd Sustainability and Development Conference. The SDC will be held virtually, January 24-28, 2022. The virtual gathering will capitalize on the enhanced ability to connect global colleagues and aims to revive, establish, and sustain knowledge production, sharing, and collaboration around sustainability and development.

In addition to parallel paper presentation sessions, the event will feature debate style plenary events, skill/tool-based workshops, journal editor roundtable conversations, a poster gallery, and opportunities for informal conversations and networking.

Jan 27, 2022 2:00 PMVirtual

Virtual Colloquium Series

Advocates of liberal education argue that it has a positive effect on both individual achievement and the public good, so that its benefits accrue not only to graduates but to their local communities and the broader society that they help to shape. In 2021-22 the College and Beyond II Public Colloquium Series is exploring the links between liberal education and its outcomes, with a particular focus on democratic engagement. What is the role of liberal education in sustaining a democratic society? Can particular features of undergraduate education be linked to how likely graduates are to vote, to volunteer, and to engage in activism, both in college and beyond?

Throughout the year, researchers and leaders of projects focused on better understanding and increasing democratic engagement will discuss ongoing efforts and new initiatives. Seminars in Winter 2022 will further explore the enduring impact of liberal education by featuring research conducted with the College and Beyond II dataset, which contains rich data about students’ experiences in and beyond college and will open to researchers in June 2022.

Feb 2, 2022 8:00 AMMichigan League

The MUSE Organizing Committee* cordially invites our colleagues at the University of Michigan from Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses to participate in the 2022 Michigan University-wide Sustainability and Environment (MUSE) Conference, February 2-4, 2022. While the 2022 MUSE Conference is expected to be an in-person event, we may pivot to an online format according to any changes in public health guidelines.

The annual flagship event of the MUSE Initiative, the MUSE Conference provides a unique venue for sharing research, building new connections, and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration among all members of the University of Michigan community who are engaged in a broad range of sustainability and environment-related research. We welcome the involvement of U-M undergraduate and graduate students, as well as University leadership, faculty, and research fellows from all disciplines, including those in arts, humanities, engineering, and natural and social sciences.

 With the theme of this year, Sustainability and Environment After Catastrophe, MUSE would like to explore resolutions to current global challenges, such as climate change and the pandemic, and envision together ways to begin rebuilding during and beyond catastrophe. To this end, we welcome proposals addressing the following questions, but not necessarily limited to:

- What defines catastrophe, and who gets to decide?

- How can we assess existing systems’ vulnerabilities to catastrophe?

- How can pre-catastrophe planning and post-catastrophe response better inform each other?

- How can stakeholders cooperate (socially, politically, economically, technologically, or institutionally) to increase their capacity to adapt to catastrophe?

- What is the role of sustainability research in ensuring just and inclusive recoveries from catastrophe?

Jan 12, 2022 12:00 PMVirtual

Public Policy and Institutional Discrimination Series

Facilitated by faculty discussant Bill Bynum this session focuses on the role of policy to advance economic opportunity for disenfranchised populations. Come join us to help foster dialogue on important issues of U.S. public policy. Sessions are facilitated by faculty discussants. This is an opportunity for students to hear from faculty outside of the classroom. Students are encouraged, though not required, to attend as many sessions as possible.

a portrait of Tabbye Chavous
Democracy & Debate has mobilized our communities to think more critically about movement towards a more diverse and inclusive society. The contributions this year from expert diversity scholars will continue to help us all better understand and further examine the history of democracy and leverage this opportunity to engage with students, faculty, and staff to envision a more just campus, community, and society.
- Tabbye Chavous, Director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity; Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; and Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan