United LogoUNITED Conference Sept. 24-27

Northern Michigan University’s seventh annual UNITED conference will be held Monday, Sept. 24, to Thursday, Sept. 27. UNITED stands for Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity. This year’s featured presenters include a motivational speaker on achieving lifelong goals, the director of a documentary about three soldiers from the Upper Peninsula, an author who gives a performance based on his book about gay black men from the South, a Paralympian skier and mountain climber and an expert on medicinal herbs.


Ramsey Jay Jr. will present “The Dream Project” at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 24 in the Great Lakes Rooms in the University Center. His presentation will focus on motivating people to achieve their goals. Jay is an executive at Ares Management, a global investment management firm, and also presented at last year’s UNITED conference.


Heather Courtney, a film director, will present her Emmy-nominated documentary, “Where Soldiers Come From” at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, in the University Center Great Lakes Rooms. Her film is about the military experience of three men from Upper Peninsula towns, one of whom was an NMU student.


E. Patrick Johnson will perform “Pouring Tea: Gay Black Men of the South Tell Their Tales” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 in the Black Box Theatre. His performance explores the experiences of homosexual black men living in the southern U.S. Johnson’s performance is based on his book of the same name.   


Debra Yepa-Pappan, a contemporary Native American/Korean digital artist, will speak at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the Great Lakes Rooms. Coming from a strong Jemez Pueblo background, she incorporates themes of stereotyping, othering, and collectivism into her artwork. She discusses how she implements her Native American and Asian identity into her work to embrace her mixed identity.


Michael Reyes, who has been featured on HBO Latin’s Habla Series, on Latin Nation and in the PBS documentary Dream Makers, will speak at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the Great Lakes Rooms. He is an innovative performer and educator who places history, current events and culture into a fusion of entertainment and education.

Medal-winning Paralympian Chris Waddell will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the University Center Great Lakes Rooms. Waddell attempted to become the first unassisted paraplegic to ascend Mt. Kilimanjaro. He also is the most decorated Paralympian male skier, having received 12 medals from four games.


Dr. David Kiefer will present “The Lure and Lore of Chocolate and Other Great Plants,” an exploration of how culture impacts the use of herbal medicine, at 7 p.m., Thursday Sept. 27, in Reynolds Recital Hall. The presentation is a part of Marquette General Hospital’s Nutrition and Medicine Conference. Kiefer co-authored the National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs.


There are seven tracks in the conference: art, dance/music, diversity, film, food, research/scholarship and service. For the full schedule, visit www.nmu.edu/united.



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Updated: September 21, 2012

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