Over the past three decades, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has established itself as one of the preeminent speaker series in higher education. The Forum is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, Lied Center for the Performing Arts, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 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.
E.N. “Jack” Thompson, former president and chair of the Cooper Foundation, conceived of a forum on international issues as a way to increase Nebraskans’ understanding of the people of other countries and the challenges that face us all. The Cooper trustees pledged major funding and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln agreed to provide logistical and financial support. In 1990, the Forum was named in Jack’s honor.