Keynote Speakers

John Zogby

John ZogbyJohn Zogby, pollster and author of The Way We'll Be will provide a unique look at “where we are” in the midst of the 2009 recession and what's coming next.

Zogby's analysis of years of data yields an astonishing perspective on Americans' thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, now and in coming years. Understanding this emerging reality will be key for leaders in all fields who want to reach audiences that are more media-savvy, better informed, and more technologically enabled than ever before, individuals in search of rewarding and fulfilling careers in tomorrow's growth fields, politicians and CEOs looking to marry policies and practices to the rising demand for social responsibility, and anyone who wants to market to the emerging new American consensus. Beyond telling a fascinating story, the conclusions in this book are a must-read for everyone from Main Street to Madison Avenue to Capitol Hill. The Way We'll Be will redefine how we view America's future.

“John Zogby always knows the pulse of America—and in this book he shares his many insights into who we are and what we think. I will return to his findings again and again.”   —Tom Brokaw

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Wynton Marsalis

Wynton MarsalisPulitzer Prize-winning Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center will reprise his performance of The Ballad of American Arts, originally performed as the 2009 Nancy Hanks Lecture, focused on the importance of arts and culture to the American identity with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Mr. Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17 and joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Mr. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and since has recorded more than 30 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine GRAMMY® Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMYs® in the same year and repeated this feat in 1984. Mr. Marsalis is also an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of universities and colleges throughout the U.S. He conducts educational programs for students of all ages and hosts the popular Jazz for Young People concerts produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and the Urban Bush Women

Jawole Willa Jo ZollarJawole Willa Jo Zollar and the Urban Bush Women will welcome participants and serve as one of the many ways the conference will be anchored in the comunity of Brooklyn. Jawole Zollar will bring the voice of the artist to provide another perspective on “Where we are” in the fall of 2009.

Jawole Zollar is a 2008 United States Artists Wynn Fellow and a recently appointed Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, she trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham. Zollar holds a BA in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and an MFA in dance from Florida State University. In 1980, she moved to New York City to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. She founded Urban Bush Women in 1984. In addition to UBW, her choreography is part of the repertory of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and a number of university companies.

Founded in 1984 by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) is a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. UBW weaves contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of African Americans and the African Diaspora, exploring the transformation of struggle and suffering into the bittersweet joy of survival.

UBW engages in extensive community-based programming, encouraging cultural activity as an inherent part of community life. In training young artists, Urban Bush Women gives equal consideration to an artist's creative and social cultural concerns.

Learn more about Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and the Urban Bush Women

Kakuna Kerina

Kakuna KerinaKakuna Kerina advises domestic and international nonprofits, foundations and private sector institutions on fundraising, grantmaking and corporate social investments in the United States and sub-Sahara Africa.

Ms. Kerina was recently the President and CEO of the Harlem School for the Arts, a comprehensive nonprofit arts institution that serves over 3,000 students annually in four core artistic disciplines: dance, music, theater and the visual arts. Her work in the areas of human rights, HIV/AIDS and access to justice for women was with the International League for Human Rights, the United Nations Development Program and the Committee to Protect Journalists. As Executive Director for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, a Soros Foundation based in Senegal, Ms. Kerina supported nonprofit and public institutions in 18 West and North African nations.

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Rocco Landesman

Rocco LandesmanRocco Landesman was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He pursued his undergraduate education at Colby College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison and earned a doctorate in Dramatic Literature at the Yale School of Drama. At the completion of his course work, he stayed at the school for four years, working as an assistant professor.

Mr. Landesman’s ensuing career has been a hybrid of commercial and artistic enterprises. In 1977, he left Yale to start a private investment fund which he ran until his appointment in 1987 as president of Jujamcyn, a company that owns and operates five Broadway theaters: the St. James, Al Hirschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill, and Walter Kerr theaters.

Before and after joining Jujamcyn, Mr. Landesman produced Broadway shows, the most notable of which are Big River (1985 Tony, Best Musical), Angels in America, a play in two parts which received the Tony for Best Play in 1993 and in 1994, and The Producers (2001 Tony, Best Musical). In 2005, he purchased Jujamcyn and operated it until President Obama announced his intention to nominate him to the NEA chairmanship.

Mr. Landesman has been active on numerous boards, including the Municipal Arts Society; an advocacy organization concerned with New York City’s public spaces and preservation; the Times Square Alliance which has radically changed the heart of the city by improving its safety, sanitation, and aesthetic; The Actor’s Fund; and the Educational Foundation of America. In addition and over the years, he returned to the Yale School of Drama and Yale Rep to teach.

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