2016 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address
“The Secret to Unleashing Inner Greatness”
Thursday, April 21, 2016, 7 p.m.
Important update, April 18, 2016: Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was originally scheduled to give the 2016 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote, but is unable to do so due to health concerns.
Benjamin Jealous is the former president and CEO of the NAACP. He is now a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kapor Capital, where he invests in high-growth companies that have a positive social impact and continues his goal of increasing opportunities for minorities in the tech economy.
A Rhodes Scholar, Jealous was named by Fortune and Time magazines to their “Top 40 Under 40” lists and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Jealous' new book, Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding, features personal essays from prominent figures in the black community.
The youngest president in NAACP history, he began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality and end mass incarceration.
Under his leadership from 2008 to 2013, the NAACP grew to be the largest civil rights organization online and on mobile, and became the largest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the country. Jealous' leadership at the NAACP included bringing environmentalist organizations into the fight to protect voting rights, and convincing well-known conservatives to join the NAACP.
Prior to leading the NAACP, he spent 15 years as a journalist and community organizer. While at Mississippi's Jackson Advocate newspaper, his investigations were credited with exposing corruption at a state penitentiary and proving the innocence of a black farmer framed for arson. While at Amnesty International, he led successful efforts to outlaw prison rape, expose the increasing trend of children being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and draw attention to expanded racial profiling in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
2017 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7 p.m.
Mary Jean Eisenhower was born in Washington, D.C., during her grandfather Dwight D. Eisenhower's first term in office as president of the United States. She was christened in the Blue Room of the White House and grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, close to the Eisenhower Farm, where President Eisenhower eventually retired. Her father, John, was named U.S. Ambassador to Belgium in 1969, and she lived in Brussels with her family until 1972.
Eisenhower is president and chief executive officer of People to People International, which was founded by President Eisenhower on September 11, 1956 and became a private organization in 1961. She joined PTPI hoping to carry on her grandfather's dream, but it has since become a dream of her own.
In 1999 she established the PTPI Friendship Fund following an inspirational visit to an orphanage in Morocco. To date, the fund has provided assistance to many causes, including the global humanitarian eradication of landmines; earthquake relief in India; disaster relief to victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and their families; support of schools for the underprivileged in China and Sri Lanka; a home for leukemia victims and their families in Cuba; Japan tsunami relief; and efforts in Rwanda and Haiti.
Following September 11, 2001, Eisenhower's focus intensified toward getting young people from around the world together to learn about each other and to engage in conflict management. Her vision resulted in Peace Camp 2003: An Evolution of Thought and Action and The Global Peace Initiative. The efforts have brought people from diverse areas, representing more than 30 nationalities, together in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to discuss issues and reach a better understanding of their unique and individual cultures. The program remains active today.
Eisenhower has received the Knight of Peace Award from the International University in Assisi, Italy; the Medal of Honor from the Slovak Republic; the Consular Corps Award of Excellence; The Harry S. Truman Award for Public Service; Friendship Ambassador recognition from The Peoples' Republic of China; and the Friend of Foreign Service Award, Taiwan, among others. A recipient of four honorary doctorate degrees, Eisenhower has also served as a fellow at Stanford University and in the Churchill Institute at Westminster College (Missouri).