The University of Central Florida’s annual Diversity Week will kick off Monday with a keynote speech from an author and news host whose 40-year career covered race, politics, health and other issues in America.

Ray Suarez, a news host of the former Al Jazeera America television channel whose past experience includes National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service, will speak during the sold-out breakfast 8-10 a.m. in the Student Union’s Pegasus Ballroom. He’s expected to discuss diversity and inclusion in the United States’ elective process, government policy and institutions ­– just some of what he’s learned from the news industry and from writing three books: Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation; The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America; and The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration.

Suarez’s speech and 20 other events planned for Diversity Week are shaped around the theme, “Empowering Diverse Voices in Our Democracy.” The goal of the events, which range from blood drives to conversations about Islam and veterans, is to stimulate conversation among UCF community members of how to create a more inclusive culture.

“UCF is stronger as a higher-education institution, employer and community leader when we bring diverse thought and experience to our decision-making, teaching, research and interactions among community members,” said Karen Morrison, UCF’s chief diversity officer.

In its 24th year, Diversity Week will include more in-depth sessions than years before, Morrison said. “This national election year has demonstrated our need to listen to and respect each other, and explore ways to dialogue equitably to find strategies to improve our society,” she said.

Here’s what else is planned for Diversity Week:

Oct. 17

  • (Not)Banned4Life Diversity Week Blood Drive, outside the Student Union, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 18

  • African American Blood Donation Keynote Speech by Edson Garcia, Student Union, Egmont Key 224, 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Blood Donation Regulations and the Gay Community, Student Union, Cape Ballroom 316AB, 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Implications of So-Called “Religious Freedom Laws,” Student Union, Key West 218AB, 1:30-3 p.m.
  • Islam 101, Student Union, Garden Key 211, 2-3:30 p.m.
  • The Role of New Media in a Democracy: Shaping Public Participation in Society, Student Union, Cedar Key 233, 2-3 p.m.
  • Oct. 19

  • About Face: Turning Away From Hate, Egmont Key 224, 9-11:30 a.m.
  • Veteran’s Resources and Challenges, Pegasus Ballroom, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Feminist Art: Guerilla Girls and Beyond, Garden Key 211, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Safe Zone: Coming Out, Student Health Services 206, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Immigrants Among Us: Fair Treatment and Policy Debates, Key West 218AB, 12:30-2 p.m.
  • Inclusive Recreation Expo: Highlighting Adaptive Sports Around the World, Recreation and Wellness Center, Court 1, 2:30-7 p.m.
  • Superheroes with Disabilities, Led by Jay Boyar, Honors Conference Room, 3-4 p.m.
  • Advocacy for Social Justice: Turning Your Cause into Action for Change, Cape Ballroom 316AB, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Minorities at UCF, Cape Ballroom 316 BD, 6-9 p.m.
  • Oct. 20

  • Free Speech vs. Hate Speech, Key West Ballroom 218AB, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Minorities in the Non-Faith Community, Cape Ballroom 316, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 21

  • Invisible Women in Sport, Classroom Building II, Room 204, 8:30-11:15 a.m.
  • Secular and Religious Minority Awareness Workshop, Barbara Ying Center, Room 140, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Russian Tea Hour: Picturing Russia with Dr. Alla Kourova, Colbourn Hall, Conference Room 401, 2-3 p.m.
  • Click for more on UCF Diversity Week.