2012 Keynote Speakers
Opening Plenary SessionThursday, June 28, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
She’s been a powerhouse and political trailblazer since childhood.
A New Orleans native, Brazile began her political career at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing sets were installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Four decades and innumerable state and local campaigns later, Brazile has worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she served as campaign manager for former Vice President Al Gore, becoming the first African-American woman to manage a presidential campaign. Today, among other roles, Brazile is an author, political commentator, and Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee. Named among the "100 Most Powerful Women" by Washingtonian magazine and "Top 50 Women in America" by Essence magazine, Brazile's passion is encouraging young people to vote and run for public office.
Luncheon Plenary Session
Thursday, June 28, 2012
12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
His battle for Native rights changed the lives of Alaska Natives and the course of Alaska history.
One of the most recognized leaders in Alaska, Willie Hensley grew up north of the Arctic Circle on the shores of Kotzebue Sound. "It was a hard life but a good one," says Hensley, who was raised in a traditional Inupiaq hunter-gatherer community with no electricity, lights, or telephones. "I was there before Gore-Tex replaced muskrat and wolf skin in parkas, before moon boots replaced mukluks, before the gas drill replaced the tuuq we used to dig through five feet of ice to fish," said Hensley in his memoir, Fifty Miles from Tomorrow. An excellent boarding school student, Hensley went on to college at George Washington University and to a political career that took him to the Alaska State Senate and leadership in numerous public and private organizations. After the largest oil field in North America was discovered in his home state, Hensley was instrumental in framing the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, awarding 44 million acres of land and nearly $1 billion to Alaska Natives. In recent years, Hensley has mentored indigenous peoples throughout the world.
Closing Luncheon Plenary Session
Friday, June 29, 2012
12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Adolph Brown, III, Ph.D.
He empowers youth to create a brighter future for themselves, their community, and their country.
Dr. Adolph Brown loves to tell his students, "A winner in life is one who can build a skyscraper with the bricks others throw at him or her." That's a lesson all students need to learn, and a lesson Brown is uniquely qualified to teach. Brown overcame an upbringing of extreme poverty to become a first-generation high school and college graduate, noted author, and award-winning educator. Bullied as a child, young Adolph disliked school at first. Thanks to a caring third-grade teacher, his opinion of school changed so much, he decided to become an educator, graduating with multiple degrees in anthropology and psychology from the College of William and Mary. A leading authority on educational excellence, Brown has mastered the art of accelerating student academic success—regardless of learning style or special learning challenges. Under his leadership, Hampton University's Department of Education/Psychology became the number-one producer of African-American baccalaureates in psychology in the nation and a winning example of the skyscrapers Dr. Brown has built with the bricks from his early life.