Milton Chen to speak at Thompson Forum

· 3 min read

Milton Chen to speak at Thompson Forum

Milton Chen

The engines of the U.S. economy rely on entrepreneurship, technology and innovating new products and services. A key to developing children’s creativity and their ability to innovate is nurturing their natural curiosity.

Milton Chen, whose career has spanned four decades at the intersection of pre-K-12 education, media and technology, will present “Creativity, Curiosity and Learning,” in the next E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Chen will highlight successful schools and afterschool programs that emphasize creative learning through project-based learning, the visual and performing arts and experiences in authentic places such as the national parks.

His lecture at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., is the latest in the 2014-15 Thompson Forum series “The Creative World.” This year’s theme explores creativity’s impact on people and societies and examines the question of how creativity can change our culture and planet for the better.

Chen is senior fellow and executive director emeritus at the George Lucas Educational Foundation, a nonprofit operating foundation in the San Francisco Bay area. The foundation utilizes its multimedia website,, and documentary films to communicate a new vision for 21st-century education. Chen was executive director of the foundation for 12 years; during his tenure, it and Edutopia greatly expanded editorial publishing efforts, including the award-winning Edutopia magazine.

Prior to joining the Lucas Foundation, he was the founding director of the KQED Center for Education in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he was a director of research at Sesame Workshop and helped develop “Sesame Street,” “The Electric Company” and “3-2-1 Contact.”

Chen has been an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was one of 35 Fulbright New Century Scholars conducting research on access and diversity issues in schools and universities. His book, “Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools,” was named one of 2010’s best education books.

Guy Trainin, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education at UNL, will deliver a pre-talk at 6:30 p.m. in the Lied’s Steinhart Room.

The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, the Lied Center and UNL. It was established in 1988 with the purpose of bringing a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and people of Nebraska to promote understanding and encourage debate.

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