Youth Symposium 2010 - Bridges to Our Future: The Next Generation of Leaders


Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.

Headshot of Charles Ogletree
Youth Symposium 2010 will be hosted by Harvard Law School Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr ., who has earned an international reputation as one of the country's leading constitutional experts working to secure the equal rights guaranteed for everyone under U.S. law. One of the nation's best legal minds and a passionate advocate for the underserved, Professor Ogletree is the founder and executive director of the law school's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, which focuses on a variety of issues relating to race and justice through research, conferences, and policy analysis.

Named on The National Law Journal's list of America's 100 Most Influential Lawyers, Professor Ogletree is a prolific author and has received numerous awards for his public service and professional leadership. These include several American Bar Association awards (most recently, in 2009, the Spirit of Excellence Award), the City of Boston's first Rosa Parks Civil Rights Award, and the Albert Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from Harvard Law School.

Examples of Professor Ogletree's activism and dedication to education in service to the public good abound. He founded Harvard Law School's introduction to trial advocacy workshops to instill in students an understanding of the law as "an instrument for social and political change... a tool to empower the dispossessed and disenfranchised...and a means to make the privileged more respectful of differences." Additionally, he founded Harvard's Criminal Justice Institute to educate students in becoming effective and ethical criminal defense lawyer-advocates and in effecting reforms in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. In 2007, he joined with Wheelock College in honoring the life work of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on the occasion of the College's first Youth Symposium, Bridges to Hope and Understanding: Exploring Truth and Reconciliation.


Hill Harper

Headshot of Hill Harper
Hill Harper, who serves as Youth Symposium 2010's keynote speaker, is an award-winning actor, bestselling author and philanthropist. The curriculum for the Symposium was built around Harper's two New York Times bestsellers, "Letters to a Young Brother" and "Letters to a Young Sister." He is also the author of the bestselling book "The Conversation." "Letters to a Young Brother" was named "Best Book for Young Adults" by the American Library Association in 2007. The curriculum for Youth Symposium 2010 Hill currently stars on the hit television drama CSI:NY as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes. CSI is the most successful television franchise in history.

To date, his collective writing and acting work has been recognized with six NAACP Image Awards: Outstanding Literary Work: Debut Author (2007), Outstanding Literary Work: Youth/Teens (2007, 2008), and Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2007, 2008, 2009). Hill has also appeared in numerous prime-time television shows and feature films, including The Sopranos, ER, The Game, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Lackawanna Blues, He Got Game, The Skulls, In Too Deep, The Nephew, and The Visit.

He is the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering, encouraging, and inspiring underserved youth to succeed through mentorship, scholarship, and grant programs. Hill graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Brown University (and was valedictorian of his department) and cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He also holds a master's degree with honors from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and honorary doctoral degrees from Howard University, Winston-Salem State University, Westfield State College, and Tougaloo College. Hill travels frequently as a motivational speaker and resonates with a wide range of audiences including youth, adults, and couples.

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