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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Leadership Institute Speakers



From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders; as a broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI). Alongside his abiding friend, Dr. Cornel West, Smiley is also co-host of the intellectually energetic radio program Smiley and West, also from PRI.

Enlighten. Encourage. Empower.



Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. The Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris.

Dr. West has written 19 books and edited 13. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, CNN and C-SPAN, as well as on his dear brother Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show, and can be heard weekly on the radio program Smiley & Westfrom Public Radio International PRI.

West made his film debut in The Matrix and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He has also appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand.

He has recorded three spoken word albums, including "Never Forget", collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His recent spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s "Choices" (which won the Grand Prix in France for 2009's best jazz album), The Cornel West Theory’s "Second Rome" and Raheem DeVaughn’s "Love & War: MasterPeace".

In short, Dr. West's passion to communicate in a variety of public spheres keeps alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.—a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

"You can't lead the people if you don't love the people. You can't save the people if you don't serve the people."

NOTE: Additional speakers will be added.