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Civic Engagement

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Feb 23, 2021

First in Future: Dr. Jason Miller – Revisited (part 1)

In 2020, we did a two part First in Future series called “the lost speeches of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,” focusing on two speeches Dr. King gave in North Carolina. The first was remarkable because we only recently discovered what he said, the other was remarkable because we know almost nothing about what he said. Both stories involve NC State Professor of English Dr. Jason Miller, to whom we revisit the conversation. This First in Future episode, “King’s first dream”, tells the story of the first time Dr. King used the phrase I have a dream – in Rocky Mount in 1962. We now know exactly what he said that day because, believe it or not, of Dr. Millers long time obsession with African American poet Langston Hughes. 

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Feb 16, 2021

First in Future: Dr. Rupert Nacoste – Revisited

February is Black History Month, a month where you hear more than you normally do about some of the bridgebuilders in the African American community, people you may not know enough about. This episode of First in Future, we revisit our conversation with Dr. Rupert Nacoste. He is the author of several books and his latest is "To Live Woke: Thoughts to Carry in our struggle to Save the Soul of America". Dr. Nacoste is retiring this year after 32 years as a professor of psychology at NC State, but he has also lived some important parts of Black History. 

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Jan 26, 2021

First in Future: Mark Burrows

The percentage of people showing “empathy” has nosedived over the past 40 years – down 48%. Four years ago, a group in Transylvania County decided to do something about it. Project Empathy has led to tough conversations about guns, racial equity, rural urban divides and other topics. Two years ago, IEI lifted up the program as one of five state examples of how to “connect rural and urban.” Project manager Mark Burrows talks with us about what he has learned, and is learning, about the power of empathy. 

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Dec 29, 2020

First in Future: Tom Campbell of NC Spin

Starting in 1998 and with over 1,000 shows, North Carolina's longest running show came to close at the end of 2020. This episode of First in Future we feature the host of NC Spin, Tom Campbell. Tom brought together opinionated people from across our state to take a tough look at whatever is going on in the news in a given week. We get to hear how it all started and why. 

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Dec 15, 2020

First in Future: The Doughnut Hole (part 3) – Chris Fitzsimon and John Hood

In the final part of our three-part series on NC’s political center, we talk with Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of The Newsroom and John Hood, President of the John William Pope Foundation, both two long-time political observers who see the state from the left and right. Are the two major political parties too far apart to get anything done? Are people in the center a dwindling minority or a silent majority? 

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Dec 8, 2020

First in Future: The Doughnut Hole (part 2) – Page Lemel and Mike Hawkins

North Carolina’s fastest growing group of voters are “unaffiliated.” About 1/3 of those registered don’t register with any party. That should mean that there’s a big group of voters open-minded, and ready to vote on issues, not politics, or for the person vs. the party, or for candidates running closer to the “center." Right? Well, based on the experience of Page Lemel and Mike Hawkins, two long-time elected officials from Transylvania County, maybe not. This is part 2 of our First in Future series “Doughnut Hole: Is NC’s Center Disappearing?” 

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Nov 10, 2020

First in Future: The Ties That Bind Us (part 2) – Dante Pittman

This is part of a three episode series of First in Future, where we want to focus on community, specifically what people and places in North Carolina are doing to make the places we live special. Small towns everywhere complain about "brain drain", young educated people who move away for college and don't come back. In the second part of our series on what makes the places we live special, we talk with Dante Pittman, who chose to move back home to Wilson, NC, with the help of a new effort called "Lead for North Carolina." And we explore the question: how do we retain and retrain and stop brain drain? 

Sep 29, 2020

Director’s Log | September 2020

What Needs Changing When Everything’s Changing At the start of our September 24 webinar on “Higher Education and the Future of Work,” Hope Williams, President of North Carolina’s Independent Colleges… 

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Sep 8, 2020

First in Future: Dr. Rupert Nacoste

This First in Future episode features Dr. Rupert Nacoste, author of the new book "To Live Woke: Thoughts to Carry in Our Struggle to Save the Soul of America". Dr. Nacoste is a native of Louisiana, but for the past 32 years has been a professor of psychology at NC State. Dr. Nacoste’s research and public service efforts have focused on developing a systematic understanding of the social psychology of social change, and using that scholarly understanding to help people manage the social changes that are influencing their everyday lives. 

Aug 28, 2020

Director’s Log | August 2020

A Few Sips from an Oasis of Optimism If we are to believe the predictions, we are heading toward a 10 week napalming of negative campaign ads: from radio and…