The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has established the Program on Public Life as a vehicle by which to reassert its scholarly strength, civic tradition and historic mission of service to the region.

The program rests on two premises. First, because the South has emerged as a crucible in modern America, the region’s political, journalistic and civic cultures deserve special study and nurturing. Second, because potent forces of economic and social change flow through the region, Southern states and communities require the development of informed, skillful leadership to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.


  1. To serve as a research brokerage so that the work of scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill and other institutions contributes to the work of elected officials, journalists and civic leaders – and to inform the public agenda in the states of the region.
  2. To bring into the UNC-CH orbit influential civic, business, journalistic and political figures to enrich the opportunities of faculty and students and to build connections for the university to regional institutions.
  3. To serve the South by supporting and nurturing enlightened leadership.
  4. To create a gathering place for a direct focus on electoral politics and for leaders – in political and civic life and in the news media – to engage in substantive debate along with periods of study and reflection.
  5. To position the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a key hub of regional thinking and activity, offering expanded opportunities to faculty and students, and to become a model from which the nation would learn.