ASU’s Project Humanities celebrates its tenth anniversary on November 13th with a special event that features keynote speaker, Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Project Humanities’ founding director Neal Lester talked about the event with Horizonte’s José Cárdenas.
“Ten may not seem like a long time but for many but under the circumstances that we have all waited through and sometimes stumbled for 10 years that’s actually pretty outstanding for a Humanities unit in a world that doesn’t always value or even understand humanities,” Lester said.
Project Humanities began as an initiative to get people to respect and understand the field of humanities.
“The economic downturn of 2008-10 was sending students and parents bleeding from humanities degrees, so I thought how can I sort of use a different approach to get people to better understand that humanities is vital, it’s not just an extra or it’s not dessert it’s the main menu,” Lester said.
Lester says he believes Project Humanities has been successful in showing people the value of the field.
“I think we’ve shown people that you don’t have to be a humanities major in order to participate in humanities efforts and I think we’ve done some things to sort of empower people,” Lester said.
The title of the celebration is “Looking back to move forward: are we losing our humanity?” .
“Are we losing our humanity is a perennial question that I have asked since we’ve been doing this work since Project Humanities,” Lester said.
The phrase to Lester encompasses how we can live in the worst and best of times while still keeping humanity.