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Dr. Maria Armoudian speaking to audience at THINKposium
Keynote speaker Dr. Maria Armoudian, Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland in New Zealand: “From Human Potential to Genocide: How Media Helps Construct Society” at UNC’s 7th annual Diversity THINKposium.


The theme of our annual Diversity THINKposium, last held at the Friday Center on September 4, 2019 (COVID forced the cancellation of our 2020 and 2021 events) was Voice. The event addressed how we use our voices to contribute to the sense of belonging for, and the retention and engagement of, all stakeholders at Carolina. Attendees participated in interactive workshops, insightful panel discussions and small group breakout sessions that explored the impact of using our voices to effectuate change.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from campus leaders, as well as Dr. Maria Armoudian, lecturer at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who delivered the keynote, “From Human Potential to Genocide: How Media Helps Construct Society.” Specifically, how do media and their messages influence political violence and reconciliation? How might media messages influence individual and societal potential? At a time of polarization, misinformation and the diminishing of traditional media, this talk explores the possible consequences of the mainstreaming of outrage, intolerance and extremism.

Drawing from some of the world’s worst-case scenarios—the Rwandan Genocide, the Holocaust and the Bosnian War—Dr. Armoudian discussed how media messages can interact with other sociopolitical conditions to stoke hate, rage and violence. What types of media messages did these scenarios have in common? What can we draw from these events in our modern, Internet age?

She then turned to what might be possible with another kind of media—with messages that can promote deeper understandings, reconciliation, and help protect the human rights of all citizens in a diverse society. What would be necessary to build such a media? How can we—as active citizens with media now at our fingertips—take part in this type of construction?

Breakout sessions engaged participants in role-playing and discussions about how to connect the Blueprint for Next with strategies for providing a space for “voice” in everyday practice, policies and programs.


Image of squiggles and text reading, "THINKposium"

The annual THINKposium is a meeting of interested participants on a particular issue or topic, engaged speakers providing data and context, a free exchange of ideas, and fuel for creative problem-solving. The program is led by the Chief Diversity Officer at Carolina and developed by a planning committee of members representing multiple units and departments. The THINKposium is meant to be a non-conventional approach to addressing diversity, inspiring action, and facilitating the solution-making process.

Who Should Attend?

Faculty, staff, and students, especially those who have roles related to advancing diversity within their departments; administrators on diversity committees, task forces or in positions related to access, support and retention for students, faculty and staff; and researchers whose research is related to workforce inclusion policy or practice. The session is free for attendees. Lunch and refreshments are provided.

What is a THINKposium?


  • A group operating at a high cognition level
  • Conduct research, provide consultation and advocacy
  • Solve complex problems and predict or plan future developments


  • Formal meeting or conference
  • Several speakers providing short addresses
  • Participants engaged in a free exchange of ideas


  • A meeting of interested participants on a particular issue or topic
  • Engaged speakers providing data and context
  • A free exchange of ideas
  • Fuel for creative problem-solving and positive action

The THINKposium is a non-conventional approach to addressing diversity, inspiring action, and facilitating the solution-making process. The 2019 THINKposium, Voice, highlights areas of critical interest for faculty and staff and provides participants with resources and professional development opportunities related to diversity. The THINKposium has been organized as an innovative and creative discussion on essential topics in diversity and provides information on the current state of diversity and opportunities for solution-sharing.


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