Featured Speakers and Talent Bios
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Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated BROOKLYN BRIDGE in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.
Burns was the director, producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer of the landmark television series THE CIVIL WAR. This film was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television, prior to BASEBALL, and attracted an audience of 40 million during its premiere in September 1990. The New York Times called it a masterpiece and said that Burns “takes his place as the most accomplished documentary filmmaker of his generation.” Tom Shales of The Washington Post said, “This is not just good television, nor even just great television. This is heroic television.” The columnist George Will said, “If better use has ever been made of television, I have not seen it and do not expect to see better until Ken Burns turns his prodigious talents to his next project.” The series has been honored with more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Producer of the Year Award from the Producer’s Guild, a People’s Choice Award, a Peabody Award, a duPont-Columbia Award, a D.W. Griffiths Award and the $50,000 Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.
Some of Burns’s other films include THE DUST BOWL (2012), PROHIBITION (2011), THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA (2009), THE WAR (2007), co-directed with Lynn Novick, JAZZ (2001), LEWIS AND CLARK: THE JOURNEY OF THE CORPS OF DISCOVERY (1997), and BASEBALL (1994)
Burns was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1953. He graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1975.
Alberto Ibargüen is president of Knight Foundation, which promotes informed and engaged communities by funding quality journalism and media innovation, community engagement, and the arts.
Before serving as publisher of The Miami Herald and of El Nuevo Herald, he was a newspaper executive at the Hartford Courant and Newsday in New York. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Alberto is as a member of the boards of PepsiCo, AMR Corp. (American Airlines), AOL and the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a member of the Secretary of State’s Foreign Policy Advisory Committee. He has been active in many community organizations, including service as chairman of the board of several organizations, including PBS, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the World Wide Web Foundation, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Newseum, in Washington, D.C.
Joichi Ito is the Director of the MIT Media Lab. He is a Board Member of The New York Times Company, on the Board of The MacArthur Foundation, The Knight Foundation, Creative Commons and co-founder and board member of Digital Garage an Internet company in Japan. He is on board of a number of non-profit organizations including The Mozilla Foundation and WITNESS. He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan and was an early stage investor in Twitter, Six Apart, Wikia, Flickr, Last.fm, Kickstarter, Path and other Internet companies. He is the Guild Custodian of the World of Warcraft guild, We Know (http://weknow.to/). He is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, an Emergency First Responder Instructor and a Divers Alert Network (DAN) Instructor Trainer.
Ito was named by Businessweek as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web in 2008. In 2011, he was chosen by Foreign Poicy Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers". In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute in recognition of his role as one of the world's leading advocates of Internet freedom. In 2011 and 2012, Ito was chosen by Nikkei Business as one of the 100 most influential people for the future of Japan.
Steven Johnson is the leading light of today's interdisciplinary, collaborative, open-minded approach to innovation. His writings have influenced everything from cutting-edge ideas in urban planning to the battle against 21st-century terrorism. Steven was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future. He unites a deep understanding of scientific progress with a sharp sensitivity to contemporary online trends. Together, those traits give him an unmatched insight into how ideas emerge and spread and how they affect the world today.
Steven's current book, Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age, makes the case that our world is getting better — much better — almost under our noses. Because bad news gets so much press, we don't see the extraordinary changes wrought by slow, gradual improvements; as Steven says, we hear about the planes that crash, not the ones that don't, even though you're more likely to become President of the U.S.A. than to be in a plane crash today. According to Steven, the greatest quiet miracle of our time is the rise of a new movement, neither conservative nor liberal, of individuals coming together to make the world a better place: the peer progressives.
A practitioner as well as a theoretician, Steven has co-created three influential sites: the pioneering online magazine FEED, the Webby-Award-winning community site, Plastic.com, and the hyperlocal media site www.outside.in, recently acquired by AOL.
He is a contributing editor to Wired magazine and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and many other periodicals. He's appeared on many high-profile television programs, including The Charlie Rose Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Steven blogs at stevenberlinjohnson.com.
David Lawrence, Jr.
David Lawrence Jr. retired in 1999 as publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness. He is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and “Education and Community Leadership Scholar” at the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development. He leads The Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment and decision-making. He is a member of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and twice chaired the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. In 2002 and 2008 he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. He is the “founding chair.” He is a board member of the Foundation for Child Development in New York. In 2002-3 he chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection, and in 2011 he chaired a similar panel for the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families. In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4 year olds. He is a board member and former chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida College of Education.
Before coming to Miami in 1989, he was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press. Previously he was editor of the Charlotte Observer, and earlier in reporting and editing positions at four newspapers. (During his tenure as Miami Herald publisher, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.)
He is a graduate of the University of Florida and named "Outstanding Journalism Graduate" and subsequently from the Advanced Management program at the Harvard Business School. In 1988, he was honored with Knight-Ridder's top award, the John S. Knight Gold Medal. His 12 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the University of Florida. His national honors include the Ida B. Wells Award "for exemplary leadership in providing minorities employment opportunities” and the National Association of Minority Media Executives award for "lifetime achievement in diversity." His writing awards include the First Amendment Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Inter American Press Association Commentary Award. He chaired the national Task Force on Minorities in the Newspaper Business, was the 1991-92 president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the 1995-96 president of the Inter American Press Association.
He was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2010.
He has served the MiamiArt Museum, United Way and the New WorldSchool of the Arts -- each of them as chair -- and is a life member of the University of Florida Foundation. He was the local convening co-chair of the 1994 Summit of the Americas. And he co-founded a non-profit vocational-technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
Robert L. Lynch is president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. With more than 30 years of experience in the arts industry, he has guided the services and membership of Americans for the Arts to grow to more than 50 times their original size. Nationally, Mr. Lynch currently serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In August 2012, he was selected as one of the most influential executives in the sector by the NonProfit Times. Mr. Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and plays the piano, mandolin, and guitar. He lives in Washington, DC.
Wes Moore is a youth advocate, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur, and host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network. His first book The Other Wes Moore became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Born in 1978, Wes and his sisters were raised by their widowed mother. Despite early academic and behavioral struggles, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 1998 as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College, and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, where he also played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, studying International Relations at Oxford University.
After his studies, Wes, a paratrooper and Captain in the United States Army, served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Wes then served as a White House fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He serves on the board of the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), The Johns Hopkins University, and founded an organization called STAND! that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system.
Wes is committed to helping the parents, teachers, mentors, and advocates who serve our nations youth. A portion of all book proceeds for “The Other Wes Moore” are being donated to City Year and the US Dream Academy.
An American by choice, Eduardo Padrón arrived in the United States as a refugee at age 15. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College, a national model of student achievement and the largest institution of higher education in America, with more than 175,000 students.
An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2009, Time magazine included him among the “10 Best College Presidents” in the United States; in 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year”; and in 2011, The Washington Post recognized him as one of the eight most influential college presidents in the country. In addition, the Carnegie Corporation of New York granted him its prestigious Centennial Academic Leadership Award; he is the first college president to receive the National Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service; he has been named an Ascend Fellow by the Aspen Institute; and he is the recipient of the Hesburg Award, the highest honor in U.S. higher education.
During his career, Dr. Padrón has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by six American Presidents. His energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the immediate past chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education and a past Board chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Padrón is widely recognized as one of the top educational leaders in the world. He serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Business/Higher Education Forum, the League for Innovation (former chair), RC-2020, the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center, the White House Fellows Selection Panel (chair), and the International Association of University Presidents. He has held leadership positions on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences/Humanities Commission and on the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (chair), the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Campus Compact, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He is also the immediate past Board Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Miami Branch.
President Padrón’s transformational accomplishments at Miami Dade College have been acknowledged by the national media, including The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has received some of the most prestigious awards in and out of academia and more than 15 honorary doctorates from leading universities such as Rollins, Princeton and Brown. He is also the recipient of highest honors by the governments of foreign nations, including France, which named him Commandeur in the Ordre des Palms Académiques; Argentina, which awarded him the Order of San Martin; and Spain, whose King Juan Carlos II bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella.
Dick Riley is the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of Education (1993-2001) and the first two-term Governor of South Carolina (1979-87). As Governor of South Carolina, Riley initiated the Education Improvement Act, heralded by the RAND Corporation to be the "most comprehensive education reform measure in the United States" at that time. As U. S. Secretary of Education, he helped President Clinton launch historic initiatives to raise academic standards, improve instruction for the poor and disadvantaged, increase parent and business involvement in education, provide after-school education enrichment, expand grant and loan programs to help more Americans go to college, prepare young people for the world of work, and improve teaching.
After leaving public office, Secretary Riley returned to the general practice of law at his firm, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. There he also established EducationCounsel, a mission-based consulting team that combines knowledge and experience in policy, strategy, law and advocacy to drive significant improvements in the U. S. education system. At the same time, Riley has remained a public ambassador for education improvement in South Carolina and at the national level, as well as abroad.
In addition to his service on the PBS board (2001-2005), Secretary Riley co-chairs the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) and serves on the boards of KnowledgeWorks Foundation, ACT and his alma mater, Furman University, where he recently completed two years as trustee chair. He is a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of South Carolina and Advisory Board Chair of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership, which is housed at Furman. He has served on a number of other education boards and commissions, most recently as chair of the Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education. The College of Education at Winthrop University bears his name, as does the College of Education and Leadership at Walden University.
The Christian Science Monitor wrote that many Americans regard Secretary Riley as "one of the great statesmen of education in this (20th) century.” Highly-acclaimed national columnist David Broder called Riley one of the “most decent and honorable people in public life.” In addition to hundreds of local, state and national awards for his education and other public leadership, Riley has been inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame and TIME Magazine named him one of the Top 10 Best Cabinet Members in our nation’s history.
Donna E. Shalala
Donna E. Shalala became Professor of Political Science and President of the University of Miami on June 1, 2001. President Shalala has more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator. During her tenure, UM has solidified its position among top U.S. research universities. Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, one of the first billion-dollar capital campaigns completed in the United States, raised $1.4 billion in private support for the university’s endowment, academic and research programs and facilities.
In 1993 President Clinton appointed her U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history. At the beginning of her tenure, HHS had a budget of nearly $600 billion, which included a wide variety of programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Child Care and Head Start, Welfare, the Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At the end of her tenure as HHS Secretary, The Washington Post described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”
President Shalala has more than four dozen honorary degrees and a host of other honors, including the 1992 National Public Service Award, the 1994 Glamour magazine Woman of the Year Award; in 1992, Business Week named her one of the top five managers in higher education; in 2005, she was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report; in 2008, President Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award; and in 2010 she received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, which recognizes individuals for outstanding dedication to improving the health and life chances of disadvantaged populations in South Africa and internationally. In 2011, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.
She has been elected to the Council on Foreign Relations; National Academy of Education; the National Academy of Public Administration; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Philosophical Society; the National Academy of Social Insurance; the American Academy of Political and Social Science; Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
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