Cooper Conversations

Cooper Conversations logo

Cooper Conversations, facilitated by University Honors Program students, aim to bring together community leaders with Honors students for regular, meaningful conversations about important, if difficult, issues. This venue gives students access to important community partners to help them grow their success networks while allowing community partners to connect with some of UNL’s best and brightest students.

Each conversation focuses on an important topic related to community building and civic engagement, tied to the annual theme of the E. N. Thompson Forum on World Issues. These conversations further the goals of the Honors Program, specifically helping students develop 21st century skills and mindsets that will make them ready for an uncertain, globalized world. For each conversation, the Honors Program and its campus partners invite community leaders to gather with undergraduate students while engaging in authentic conversations about relevant current topics.

The Cooper Foundation offers financial support for Cooper Conversations and for the E. N. Thompson Forum on World Issues. Since 1934, the Cooper Foundation has invested in the people of Nebraska through its mission to support strong, sustainable organizations, innovative ideas, and ventures of significant promise.

Cooper Foundation logo
EN Thompson logo

Spring 2024 Conversations

Wednesday, Feb 14, 3:30-4:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Immigration Law and Advocacy

With local and state-wide legal experts helping to navigate immigration law


Thursday, Mar 21, 3:30-4:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Healthcare & Housing

With community leaders providing access to care and housing


Tuesday, Apr 2, 5:00-7:00pm
Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center

PUSH Film Screening & Discussion

Exploring affordable housing as a fundamental human right with Alicia Christensen (Together Omaha), Brent Lucke (NeighborWorks Lincoln), and Lizzie Turner (Nebraska Appleseed with Collective Impact Lincoln)


Fall 2023 Conversations

Wednesday, Sept 13, 11:30-12:45pm
University Suites Multipurpose Room

Welcoming Lincoln: Embracing Immigrants and Refugees

With community leaders developing and implementing city strategies to welcome immigrants and refugees.

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Wednesday, Oct 25, 3:30-4:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Refugee Women Rebuilding Lives, Building Businesses

With refugee entrepreneurs and those working alongside them.

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Thursday, Nov 2, 3:30-4:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Newcomers Navigating U.S. Healthcare

With immigrants adjusting to the ins and outs of the American healthcare system.

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Tuesday, Nov 14, 6:30-8:00pm
Wick Alumni Center

Forum Youth Panel: Displacement and Reimagining the American Dream

With local students and young professionals sharing their lived experiences as immigrants and refugees.

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Spring 2023 Conversations

Thursday, Mar 23, 5:00-5:45pm
Room 258, Knoll Residential Center

Creative Local Solutions to the Global Food System

With scholars and practitioners improving how we produce, process, distribute, and access food.

Thursday, Apr 20, 3:30-4:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Improving Healthcare Access in Rural Communities

With healthcare professionals and advocates working to improve healthcare access and outcomes in rural areas

Wednesday, Apr 26, 3:30-4:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Emerging Transportation

With professionals focused on public transportation accessibility, emerging and innovative transportation, and transportation’s role in sustainability.

Fall 2022 Conversations

Monday, Sept 12, 2:30-4:00pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Innovative Local Efforts to Support Ukrainians

With campus/community leaders offering assistance to displaced Ukrainians through fundraising, traveling, volunteering, advocacy, and/or scholarship

Wednesday, Oct 26, 9:00-10:20am
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Saving the Pershing Mural: Public Art and Community Action

With local arts advocates, historians, and others engaged with the ongoing effort to remove, restore, and reinstall the 38-by-140-foot Pershing Center mural.

Thursday, Nov 10, 3:30-5:00pm
Platte River Room South, Nebraska Union

Creative Ways to Blend Culture and Care

With scholars, medical professionals, and others working to improve quality of care and health outcomes through empathy and understanding of patients' cultures.

Spring 2022 Conversations

Wednesday, Feb 16, 12:30-2:00pm
Red Cloud A, Cather Dining Complex

Tackling the Complex Dynamics of Race, Sports and Social Justice

With Dr. Lawrence Chatters (Executive Associate Athletic Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and former Huskers Dr. Jamie Williams, Jay Foreman, and Michael Rose-Ivey

Wednesday, Mar 9, 2:30-3:45pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Maternal & Reproductive Healthcare for BIPOC Women

With campus/community leaders focused on prenatal care, access and barriers to care, and post-natal support for the mother and child

Tuesday, Mar 22, 7:00pm
The Bay

Forum Youth Panel "Performative Activism: Youths Reckoning with Racial Justice"

With university and high school student activists discussing racial justice: What they’ve done, what they do, and how to move forward.

Fall 2021 Conversations

Thursday, Oct 7, 3:30-5:00pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Global Starts with Local

With community leaders in immigration/refugee support

Thursday, Oct 14, 6:30pm
Knoll Residential Center

Black Men in White Coats: Screening & Discussion

With UNMC Faculty, Staff, and Students

Thursday, Nov 4, 3:30-5:00pm
Pioneers Room, Cather Dining Complex

Racial Bias in Artificial Intelligence

With campus/community leaders in computer science and diversity and inclusion