News Release: Arts and Humanities, Events, Teaching, University News

Jul. 28,  2011

CNN, Emory's James Weldon Johnson Institute and National Center for Civil and Human Rights Join to Launch Forum Series

Inaugural Presentation to be Moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday, Aug. 31

CNN Dialogues

CNN, the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights have joined together to launch CNN Dialogues, a series of public discussions featuring prominent figures debating the major issues that define our times. 

CNN’s lead political anchor and host of “The Situation Room” Wolf Blitzer will moderate the inaugural program on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Cecil B. Day Chapel of The Carter Center in Atlanta. This first public forum will focus on the U.S. Census and the impact of the nation’s changing demographics upon who we are and how we live, examining our national identity, economy, politics and the view of America in the broader world. 

For the inaugural program, “CNN Dialogues: The 2010 Census and a New America,” Blitzer will facilitate a discussion with panelists including:

  • Author Heidi Durrow, “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” (2011);
  • Attorney Yul Kwon, host of PBS’ “America Revealed” and winner of television’s “Survivor: Cook Islands”;
  • University of Maryland sociology and demography professor Kris Marsh;
  • Actor Edward James Olmos; and
  • Emory University American Studies professor Dana White

The on-stage discussion will include questions and comments from the audience. 

Wolf BlitzerCNN’s lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will moderate the inaugural program. Photo by Andrew Eccles for CNN.

Tickets for this program are $25 and may be purchased online, or by calling the James Weldon Johnson Institute: 404.727.2515, or the National Center for Civil and Human Rights: 404.991.6988.  Profits from ticket sales will support the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University.

Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, says of the announcement, “CNN is pleased to join with Emory and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in our shared mission of bringing information and insights to venues where public dialogue and debate will be engaging and enlightening.”

This is the first of three programs in the series that will be presented in 2011. In the coming months, other CNN Dialogues will focus on the impact of the digital age upon concepts of privacy and American culture, and the effect of openness on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) communities. Future topics will include the arts, culture, economic issues, media, science, politics and sports themes.

“This partnership and series are the culmination of an effort to bring together the renowned scholarship of Emory, the ethical leadership of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the global resources and prominence of CNN in an open forum in service for the public,” says Rudolph P. Byrd, founding director of Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference and Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies.

Doug Shipman, CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, says, “We are thrilled to join with CNN and Emory on this collaborative project, which is also an important step in the life of the center.”

The planning committee for CNN Dialogues includes writer Pearl Cleage, Morehouse College President Robert Franklin, president and trustee of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Penelope McPhee, vice president for communications and marketing for Emory University Ron Sauder, executive vice president and director of programming for Atlanta’s World Affairs Council Cedric Suzman, president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tisha Tallman, and Eric Tanenblatt of the Atlanta-based law firm of McKenna, Long, and Aldrich.

About the partners

Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system. 

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively-syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

With a scheduled opening in 2013, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights will display The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection (King Papers), the award-winning Without Sanctuary lynching exhibit and serve as a hub for ongoing dialogue, attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. Equipped with broadcast capabilities and event space, the Center will serve as gathering space and host for civil and human rights conversations among scholars, organizations and the public, capturing the ideas exchanged at those gatherings to share with a broad global audience using digital formats. For more information, please visit www.cchrpartnership.org.

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