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Project Humanities rolls out red carpet for star-studded fall campaign

Humanity 101
September 09, 2014

Arizona State University's award-winning Project Humanities will launch its fall 2014 kickoff series, “Humanity 101: Creating a Movement,” Sept. 11-21, with a star-studded lineup that includes world-renowned poet Nikki Giovanni, columnist and author Gustavo Arellano, a community tribute to the life and works of Maya Angelou; and a first-of-its-kind hackathon for the social good.

The popular initiative will offer diverse strategies for true dialogue, discovery and connectedness by focusing on principles essential to success and professional relationships across disciplines, cultures, communities and generations.

“We were able to do a soft introduction of it during the Spring 2014 semester with very enthusiastic feedback, and we are continuing to showcase opportunities for individuals and communities to focus on a common set of core values that represent humanity at its best: integrity, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, self-reflection, empathy and respect,” says Neal A. Lester, director of Project Humanities. "Particularly at this pivotal moment in our local, national and global climate of urgency in the need for 'talking, listening and connecting' are we inspired to create a suite of tools, programs and activities that promote continual focus on and awareness/discussion of these principles. We know that Humanity 101 – this movement – can bring positive change one person, one activity and one critical conversation at a time.”

Broadly speaking, Humanity 101 responds to the question: Are we losing our humanity? Project Humanities raised this question approximately two years 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, a Hacks 4 Humanity hackathon, celebrity PSAs, an eBook and print, visual and virtual resources that add perspective and meaning to daily experiences.

During this campaign, Project Humanities will host a wide range of events and activities at the ASU campuses and at different community venues around the Valley; bringing together students, staff, faculty, alumni, emeriti and the public to engage critically with these seven values – respect, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, kindness and self-reflection. Many local, national and international speakers will help continue the #Humanity101 movement, which continues throughout 2014.

Events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, Sept. 11

“Seeking Humanity in Tragedy: Reflections and Memories of 9/11,” by ASU professor Aaron Hess, College of Letters and Sciences, 6:30 p.m., ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., room 128, Phoenix

Monday, Sept. 15

“2nd Annual Project Humanities Funniest ASU Teacher Contest,” 6 p.m., Tempe campus, Memorial Union, room 230 (Pima Auditorium)

Tuesday, Sept. 16

“The Saving Grace of Mexican Food” by Gustavo Arellano, editor of O.C. Weekly and columnist of “Ask a Mexican!”, 6 p.m., Tempe campus, Memorial Union, room 220 (Turquoise)

Wednesday, Sept. 17

“Celebrating Maya.” Join in this community celebration by bringing your favorite Maya Angelou passages, poems or artifacts, 7:30 p.m., The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix

Thursday, Sept. 18

“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

Friday, Sept. 19

“Better Together Peacewalk and Banquet” by Johnny Martin, Anu Abbas, Seemer Kassab, SunDABT; Yash Kuma, International Coalition. International peacewalk starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. banquet. Peacewalk: Tempe campus, Hayden Lawn. Banquet: Memorial Union, room 242 (La Paz).

Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21

“Hacks 4 Humanity.” This two-day, 36-hour hackathon encourages creative thinkers, artists, programmers, designers and anyone to hack for our collective social good. The event begins at 7 a.m., Sept. 20 and runs until 5 p.m., Sept. 21, at the Sun Devil Fitnes Complex, 400 E. Apache Blv., on ASU’s Tempe campus.

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