William Kelly
(402) 472-9333

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is one of only 10 sites in the nation selected by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to host discussions Saturday, Jan. 24, as part of the PBS By the People project.

More than 100 invited participants from a six-county area in Central Nebraska will take part in what is described “…as a national conversation about America’s role in the world.” The discussions will take place in the Nebraskan Student Union on the UNK campus.

Attendance at the Saturday event will be limited, but a seminar, Nation-Building: United States Involvement and Global Perspectives, which is being held in conjunction with the By the People event, is free and open to the public. The seminar will be from 3-4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, in Copeland Hall Room 140

Participants in the By the People project on Saturday are from Adams, Buffalo, Dawson, Hall, Kearney and Phelps Counties. Discussions will focus on international security issues such as peacekeeping, nation building, fighting terrorism and the nation’s economic role in the world. Trade issues and the impact of diseases such as AIDS and SARS will also be covered.

Highlights from the daylong discussion will be broadcast nationally during an hour-long program that will air at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, on the Nebraska ETV Network. More results of the dialogue will be broadcast in the weeks that follow on ETV’s Statewide, a weekly news journal that airs at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays.

At UNK, participants will take part in small group discussions followed by an opportunity to ask questions of a panel of experts. Panel members will include UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen; U.S. Representatives Doug Bereuter and Tom Osborne; Lisa Dominisse, director of Rural Development for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Tom Gouttierre, dean of International Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; and Dr. Patrice McMahon, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the UNK campus.

The January nationwide series of discussions will be the first of two sessions. In October, By the People will convene another round, this time in 30 locations around the country, including Kearney.

The UNL Public Policy Center is a partner with NETV in coordinating the event. The center will be involved in the compilation of participants’ responses. The participants will be surveyed before and after the discussions then the participants’ views will be compared to those of a control group who will not be involved in the discussions.

By the People is a creation of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions with major funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.