Chancellor's Program today for MLK Week

MLK Week events at UNL continue through Jan. 20. The Chancellor's Program keynote speaker is Lincoln author Mary Pipher.
MLK Week events at UNL continue through Jan. 20. The Chancellor's Program keynote speaker is Lincoln author Mary Pipher.

UNL's observance of the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr., holiday continues today with the Chancellor's Program, 2 p.m. in the Nebraska Union.

The event, which is free and open to the public, features a keynote lecture by Lincoln author Mary Pipher. The program also includes the presentation of the Chancellor's "Fulfilling the Dream Awards" to the UNL African American and African Studies program, and Zainab Al-baaj and the MENA Hope Project.

Pipher is the author of eight books including her first, “Reviving Ophelia” and her most recent “Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World.” She is currently writing a book about the psychological and cultural issues that impact our awareness of and response to global climate change. Her other books include "Writing to Change the World," and "The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community," about the Lost Boys of Sudan.

The Fulfilling the Dream Awards are presented to individuals or groups who have contributed to the UNL community or the wider Lincoln community by their exemplary action in promoting the goals and vision of Rev. King.

The African American and African Studies Program has provided a voice for diversity issues on campus and the community for 40 years, creating a network of faculty members across the university that ensures that cultural perspectives are recognized in a variety of disciplines through research, teaching and outreach activities. In recent years, it has been one of the most active units on campus and showcased its accomplishments in its four decades during a weeklong celebration last fall with the theme "Reflecting the Past...Minding the Future."

Al-baaj and her husband, Mohammed, were among the first Iraqi refugees to settle in Lincoln in 1994, and Zainab has come to be described as "a one-woman welcoming committee for Iraqis and for other Mideast immigrants." She serves as director of the MENA Hope Project, which provides assistance for persons from the Middle East and North Africa, advising new arrivals on how to find food and clothes, learn English, obtain family and health services, fill out immigration papers, apply for jobs and mortgages and navigate the many complexities of American culture and society.

"Live the Dream" is the theme of the weeklong series of events planned at UNL in observance of the MLK holiday. Other MLK Week activities (free and open to the public unless otherwise noted) are:

Jan. 17, 7 p.m., Nebraska Union Auditorium — Film screening and discussion of "Soundtrack for a Revolution," with performances by John Legend, Joss Stone and Wyclef Jean. "Soundtrack" tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music.

Jan. 18, 7 p.m., Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, 15th and S streets — "Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Struggle Against Racial Discrimination," international human rights lecture by Professor Brian Lepard of the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Jan. 19, 2-6 p.m., Gaughan Multicultural Center — Service learning project, in which participants will volunteer at various sites around the community in honor of King's vision for community outreach. Registration begins at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Joe Ruiz at

Jan. 19, 7 p.m., Gaughan Multicultural Center — Open Mic MLK Tribute Night. Participants can showcase their creativity through poetry, dance, the spoken word, song, etc., while addressing issures surrounding the work and legacy of King, including peace, equality and social justice. Prizes will be awarded. For more information, go to

Jan. 20, 7 p.m., Nebraska Union Ballroom — Afrikan People's Union MLK Banquet with the theme "Looking Back to Go Forward." Douglas County treasurer John Ewing is the keynote speaker. Tickets are $10 per person or $70 per table. For reservations or more information, contact Rhaniece Choice at

More details at: