The March 29 'MHP' Syllabus

Photo by: Heidi Gutman/msnbc
Photo by: Heidi Gutman/msnbc

First of all, host Melissa Harris-Perry is back! Now, on with the rest of the Syllabus.

President Obama embarked on a global round-robin this week, making stops in Belgium, Vatican City, and Saudi Arabia. He met with European Union leaders to discuss solutions to the situation in Ukraine, he became only the ninth president to make a visit to the Vatican, and he sat down with King Abdullah to discuss Iran, Syria and Middle East peace--all issues that have created tension between America and Saudi Arabia.

But the president isn’t the only Obama on the road. First Lady Michelle Obama brought Malia and Sasha with her when she travelled to China this week. Along with trekking along the Great Wall, seeing the terracotta warriors, and feeding pandas, the First Lady did some outreach of her own. On Tuesday, she gave an impassioned speech that was broadcast to 12,000 rural students via satellite where she invoked America’s Civil Rights movement. On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, join us as we discuss the current balance of global power and the implications of the president’s trip on American foreign policy.

Of course, one of the most anticipated moments of the trip was the president’s visit to the Vatican where President Obama met Pope Francis for the first time. During their 52 minute visit, the two exchanged gifts and sat down to discuss social justice issues, like poverty and income inequality as well as the escalating crisis in Syria. Though the meeting was amicable, the two also discussed the president’s healthcare plan and the contraception mandate which the Vatican and American bishops have opposed. Journalist Lara Setrakian, co-founder and executive editor of Syria Deeply, will join us.

As the Obamas focus on human rights abroad, the immigration issue is raising human rights issues here in America. Harris-Perry will speak with her panel about recent protests by undocumented immigrants at an Alabama detention center that is considered one of the worst in the country.

Even though Northwestern has never made it to March Madness, its football players scored a win on Wednesday when the Chicago branch of the National Labor Relations Broad ruled that they have the right to hold a union election. The Chicago NLRB also ruled that the players were eligible for workplace rights protections under the National Labor Relations Act.

We’ll discuss the new rights that could be afforded to college athletes and what the ruling may possibly mean for the future of college sports programs and the labor movement. Read msnbc reporter Ned Resnikoff's look at that, plus this column from guest Dave Zirin of The Nation and this classic from guest Taylor Branch. Attorney Jeffrey Kessler will join us as well, and here's why.

All that, plus an amazing set of Foot Soldiers on Saturday at 10am ET on MSNBC! Be sure to read (or at least skim) everything we’ve linked above, and don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.