Suzan Johnson Cook
Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S Dept. of State Office of International Religious Freedom and past Hollister Awardee
Appointed in 2011 to Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom by President Obama, Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook is the principal adviser to both the President of the United States and Secretary of State and the first African American and the first female to hold this position.
Prior to joining the Department of State, she served as the senior pastor and CEO of the Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in New York City from 1996-2010.
She has had three Presidential appointments, two Cabinet Secretary Appointments and a United States Senate Confirmation. Amb. Johnson Cook held the position of Chaplain to the New York City Police Department for twenty-one years, the only woman to serve in that role; she was on the front lines of 9/11. For three decades she served as senior pastor to three New York City cogregations, as a professor at New York Theological Seminary from 1988-1996, and as an Associate Dean and Professor at Harvard Divinity School for 1990-1992.
Amb. Johnson Cook is the recipient of several awards including the Juliet Hollister Award and has also authored ten books. She is a graduate of Emerson College (’76, BA), Columbia University Teachers College (’78, MA), Union Theological Seminary (’83, MDiv) and United Theological Seminary (1990, Ph.d. Ministry).
Peabody Prize and McArthur Foundation Award winning urban environmentalist past Hollister Awardee, Majora Carter
She’s probably the only person to receive: an award from John Podesta’s Center For American Progress, AND a Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement from Rupert Murdoch’s: New York Post.Fast Company Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business, The NY Times described her as “The Green Power Broker”, and the Ashoka Foundation’s Changemakers.org recently dubbed Majora Carter “The Prophet of Local.”
Majora hosts the Peabody Award winning public-radio series: The Promised Land, and serves on the boards of the US Green Building Council, and The Wilderness Society.
She has a long list of awards and honorary degrees, including a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. She founded and led Sustainable South Bronx, from 2001 to 2008 — when few were talking about “sustainability”; and even fewer, in places like The South Bronx.
By 2003, Majora coined the term: “Green The Ghetto” as she pioneered one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training & placement systems, and spearheaded legislation that fueled demand for those jobs. Majora’s 2006 TEDtalk was one of 6 presentations to launch that groundbreaking website.
Since 2008, her consulting company has exported Climate Adaptation, Urban Micro-AgriBusiness, and Leadership Development strategies for Business, Government, Foundations, Universities, and economically under-performing Communities.
Social justice activist and daughter of Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, Naomi Tutu
The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of Nontombi Naomi Tutu’s life as an activist for human rights. The third child of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu, Ms. Tutu received her formal education in Swaziland, the US and England. Today, she divides her life between South Africa and the US.
Her professional experiences include development consulting and coordinating programs on race and gender and gender-based violence in education. Having also taught at the university-level, Ms. Tutu serviced as Program Coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, attending the World Conference Against Racism in Durban as a member of the Institute’s delegation.
In addition to speaking and preaching nationally, she is the founder of Nozizwe Consulting, whose guiding principle is to bring cross-cultural groups together to learn from and celebrate differences and acknowledge their shared humanity. As part of this work, she has led Truth and Reconciliation Workshops on different types of conflict. She also conducts educational and partnership trips to South Africa.
Ms Tutu is pursuing a Masters in Divinity and is the single mother of two daughters and a son.
MASTER OF CEREMONY
Nadia Bilchik, President of Greater Impact Communication, is an internationally – renowned television news anchor, media and presentation skills expert, author and keynote speaker. Nadia currently hosts CNN’s Weekend Morning Passport with TJ Holmes Nadia has anchored and hosted feature programs for CNN International, CNN Airport Network and MNet Television (South Africa).