Project Humanities launches Humanity 101 series

Compassion. Empathy. Forgiveness. Integrity. Kindness. Respect. Self-reflection. Transcendent words, no doubt. But how do we put those words into daily action? ASU’s Project Humanities will offer diverse strategies for true dialogue, discovery, connectedness and sustained focus – all toward creating more personal responsibility and social accountability.

The award-winning initiative will launch its spring kickoff series, “Humanity 101: Creating a Movement,” Feb. 9-15, by focusing on seven principles essential to success and professional relationships across disciplines, cultures, communities and generations.

“These are not new concepts for most folks. In fact, what we hope to accomplish is a re-commitment to better understanding and practicing these principles and values," says Neal A. Lester, director of Project Humanities. "With a comprehensive toolbox of strategies and materials, Humanity 101 can embody the ‘talking, listening, connecting’ the project seeks to facilitate here at ASU, in Arizona and beyond.

"Since this focus will last throughout all of 2014, we are making Humanity 101 a movement that transcends boundaries of religion, culture, geography and other differences. A conscious commitment to these basic principles can and will influence behavior and thinking, and will move us deliberately toward a better way of being human – individually, communally and globally.”

Broadly speaking, Humanity 101 responds to the question: “Are we losing our humanity?” Project Humanities raised this question approximately a year ago in an op-ed piece that was featured in USA Today, a National Press Club Forum, a local community film series and multiple public lectures to diverse groups across the Valley and beyond. Humanity 101 will be a multi-modal toolbox of specific strategies and programs, hands-on activities, blogged interactions, workshops, celebrity PSAs, an eBook and print, visual and virtual resources that add perspective and meaning to daily experiences.

During this week-long kickoff, Project Humanities will host a wide range of events and activities across all four ASU campuses and at different community venues around the Valley, bringing together students, staff, faculty, alumni, emeriti and members of the public to engage critically with these seven values. Many local, national and international speakers will help launch the #Humanity101 movement, which continues throughout 2014.

Events are free and open to the public.

Sunday, Feb. 9

“Straight Talk about the N-Word,” by Neal A. Lester, ASU Foundation Professor of English, director of Project Humanities, 9:30 a.m., First Institutional Baptist Church, 1141 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix

Monday, Feb. 10:

“How Can Media Reconnect Us with Our Humanity,” by Lisa Mae Brunson, CEO, and Dr. Tyron Grandison, CTO of EqualityTV, 1 p.m., Tempe campus, Memorial Union 228 (Cochise)

“Why is There No Interfaith Dialogue at ASU (and does it matter?)” Student discussion on respecting and celebrating religious differences presented by Sun Devils Are Better Together, 6 p.m., Tempe campus, Memorial Union 228 (Cochise)

Tuesday, Feb. 11:

“Reconnecting through Gratitude: What Is Emotional Health?” by Joel Hutchinson, associate director of ASU Wellness, 1 p.m., Tempe campus, BAC 396

“Vital Voices: Forgiveness.” Share a story, poem or artifact related to forgiveness, with facilitation by Pastor Robert Koth, 6:30 p.m., Arizona Jewish Historical Society, 122 E. Culver St., Phoenix

Wednesday, Feb. 12:

“Humanity on Hayden Lawn: A Circus Extravaganza!” Live and interactive performance by the Circus School of Arizona, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tempe campus, Hayden Lawn

“Stories from the Invisible People.” Homeless seniors share their stories of compassion and respect, facilitated by ASU instructor of English, Debbie Schwartz, and co-sponsored by the Arizona Humanities Council, 6 p.m., Ellis-Shackelford House, 1242 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Thursday, Feb. 13:

“Forgive for Good!” by Frederic Luskin, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, 10 a.m., Tempe campus, West Hall, room 130

“An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Nikki Giovanni,” world-renowned poet, writer, professor, commentator, activist, 6:30 p.m., The Mesa Arts Center, One E. Main St., Mesa

“The Drug Enforcement Agency: Arizona and the Human Factor,” discussion with DEA special agent Doug Coleman, 6:30 p.m., Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Cronkite School, 555 N. Central Ave., room 128

Friday, Feb. 14:

“Becoming What We Are: Humanity as Fact and Aspiration,” by John Churchill, secretary of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, Tempe campus, West Hall, room 130

“Kindness is Contagious,” film screening and disuccion, with special guest documentarian Sara Glaser, 5 p.m., Tempe campus, Marston Exploration Theater, ISTB4

Saturday, Feb. 15:

“Phonetic Spit: Values to Spit By.” Writing workshop on Humanity 101 values, followed by open mic poetry slam, 12 p.m., Burton Barr Public Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information about ASU Project Humanities and/or Humanity 101, visit