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The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues began its fourteenth year as Nebraska's premier lecture series with paleoanthropologist and zoologist Meave Leakey on 'The Search and Discovery of Our Earliest Ancestors' on the afternoon of September 24, 2001 in the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

Thompson Forum Home


free and open to the public; all events in Lied Center for Performing Arts, 12th & R Streets, Lincoln, NE, except Terrorism Panel, in Kimball Hall

Andrew Nathan
"Is It Any of Our Business?"
Thursday, April 11, 3:30pm

Mikhail Gorbachev
"Russia: Retrospect and Prospect"
Thursday, March 14, 10:30am

Anna Rosmus
"Growing Up Where Hitler Lived"
Thursday, March 7, 3:30pm

Terrorism Panel
Featuring United States Senator Chuck Hagel, with Thomas Gouttiere, Steven Hinrichs, Patrice McMahon and Peter Tomsen
Friday, Nov. 2, 2-4pm

Meave Leakey
"The Search and Discovery of Our Earliest Ancestors"
Monday, Sept. 24, 3:30pm

In the past century, the Leakey family name has become synonymous with major discoveries in the study of early humans. Meave Leakey continues to build on her family’s legacy with her discovery in 1999 of a 3.5 million-year-old skull believed to belong to a new branch of the early human family. Also, in 1994, she discovered a new species of hominid, Australopithecus anamensis, that began to walk upright at least 4 million years ago, half a million years earlier than was previously thought possible for early humans.

For more than 70 years, the Leakeys—including Meave Leakey’s husband, Richard, and his parents, Louis and Mary Leakey—have been digging in Africa, uncovering fossilized clues to the origins of our earliest ancestors. She is currently head of the paleontology division at the National Museums of Kenya and has written more than 50 scientific articles and books about her work. A cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues began in 1988 as the Cooper-UNL Forum on World Issues, with a mission of promoting better understanding of world events and issues by Nebraskans. In 1990, the name of the series was changed in honor of E.N. 'Jack' Thompson, a 1933 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and chairman of the Cooper Foundation.

Leakey is head of the Paleontology Division at the National Museums of Kenya.

More About Dr. Meave Leakey >

In its fourteen-year history, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has established itself as one of the preeminent speakers series in higher education. Past Thompson Forum events have featured, among many others: Holocaust survivor and peace activist Elie Weisel; Camelia Sadat, the daughter of Anwar Sadat and founder of the Sadat Peace Institute; Maki Mandela, daughter of the former South African president; the Rev. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University; Hedrick Smith, journalist and expert on the former Soviet Union; Kennedy Administration Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.