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The Antelope

World Affairs Conference covers issues beyond US borders

Infographic by Zahira Lopez / Antelope Staff

The World Affairs Conference at UNK will run from Nov. 14-15. This conference will cover a broad range of subjects. The organizers hope it will be a learning opportunity for UNK students and the central Nebraska community alike. 

The conference’s theme is “For Better or Worse: Crossing the Line.” 

“We have a lot of world affairs issues to talk about that have to do with crossing lines,” said Michelle Warren, the director of International Affairs at UNK. “An example relevant to the news right now is Russia crossing the Ukrainian border through invasion.”

The World Affairs Conference will provide exposure to culture and significant conflicts that go on outside of the United States. It will allow attendees the chance to gain a new understanding and perspective. 

“We want students and the community to see that UNK embraces multiculturalism,” Warren said. “A big purpose of the event is to expose individuals to international issues. Along with this, organizers hope for individuals to think critically and learn about connections. The event is open to the public. The university will draw attendees of all ages and education levels from across the state.”

The conference’s keynote speaker is Sonia Nazario who is an author and investigative researcher. 

“I can’t emphasize how lucky we are to have her because she is a big-name speaker,” Warren said. “She’ll be involved in the entire fabric of the convention.” 

Nazario will talk about her book “Enrique’s Journey.” The book is about a young boy making his way across the border to reunite with his mother in California. 

Nazario will participate on a panel, speak on migrant situations in central Nebraska and host a book signing. “Enrique’s Journey” is available for signing in the UNK bookstore. 

More speakers will be featured along with Nazario. The schedule of speakers can be found on the UNK website under the James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs page. Many of the speakers are field services workers or individuals from the offices of ambassadors. 

There is a wide range of relevant fields of study. For example, this conference draws in biologists, political scientists, journalists, professionals in exercise sciences and language experts.  

“Students that are wondering if this is something for them, take a look at the list of speakers and events. We have everything from literature, to music to art,” Warren said. “The conference is so relevant. Some UNK classes will be canceled in order for students to experience the conference during assigned class time.”

The panel is looking forward to helping students cross the border and learn about other perspectives.

“The concept of a border is something that can be applied in so many different places in our lives,” Warren said. The theme of crossing borders will be covered in numerous ways, ranging from crossing borders that are visible, to crossing the invisible border of gender identity.” 

The World Affairs Conference is also looking for student volunteers. Interested UNK students  can contact Michelle Warren at 

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