Continuing its long tradition of excellence, the annual President’s Forum Speaker Series will bring to campus prominent social entrepreneur Alan Khazei. On Thursday, Oct. 11, co–founder of City Year and founder of Be the Change, Inc., Khazei will talk about his work pioneering the ways in which citizens can enact change in their country and communities at 4 p.m. in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center.
Earlier in the day, Khazei will join the Centennial Center for Leadership for a special Leadership Café discussion on big citizenship and real leaders at 12:15 p.m. in the Seneca Room on South Main Street. Following the talk, Khazei will offer a workshop to students, staff and community members on the “10 Principles of Action Tanking.” The workshop, which will begin at 1:15 p.m. in the Seneca Room, will outline ways in which social change can be enacted within any community.
Khazei graduated from Harvard Law School in 1987, and shortly thereafter co-founded the nonprofit organization City Year, which allows adults ages 17-24 serve as intensive, full-time community mentors, tutors and educators to children in some of the nation’s most poverty-stricken schools. The program’s success lent it to become the inspiration for President Bill Clinton’s AmeriCorps program and continues to operate in 22 cities – including Johannesburg and London.
When AmeriCorps was faced with dramatic cuts in funding in 2003, Khazei played an instrumental role in the “Save AmeriCorps” effort; due to its success, was inspired to create Be the Change, Inc. in 2007. Through grassroots efforts and national issue-based campaigns that stress inclusion, collaboration and collective impact, Be the Change works to find solutions to the most pressing issues facing society today.
The campaigns created by Be the Change organize coalitions of nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, private sector leaders, academics and concerned citizens to align with common goals effecting the nation as a whole. The organization’s first campaign, ServiceNation, proved to be an integral part in the enactment of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
In addition to his work with City Year and Be the Change, Inc., Khazei is a prominent board member of many national non-profits. Khazei was named one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by the US News and World Report in 2006, and his efforts have earned him numerous awards including the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award.
In 2009, Khazei ran for a seat in the Senate in his home state of Massachusetts, and was endorsed by The Boston Globe, as well as several other state and local newspapers. He also authored a book, “Big Citizenship: How pragmatic idealism can bring out the best in America,” which was released this summer.