Summit for Democracy Event: Advancing Racial Justice Through Sports Diplomacy

Speakers

Douglas Emhoff, The Second Gentleman of the United States of America

Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is a devoted father, experienced lawyer, and proud husband. Emhoff was a prominent entertainment lawyer for nearly 30 years. As Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff will devote his time to the causes of justice, equality, and human rights. Emhoff was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Matawan, New Jersey by his parents Mike and Barbara with his siblings Jamie and Andy. His family moved to the Los Angeles area during his teen years. Emhoff earned a B.A. from California State University, Northridge and a J.D. from University of Southern California.

 

 

 

Moderator: UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. She is the youngest senior official in the UN and the first woman to hold this position. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of the organization’s work — sustainable development, human rights, peace and security, and humanitarian action — and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General. Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, including playing a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.

 

 

 

Canadian figure skater Elladj Baldé

Elladj Baldé is a Canadian figure skating veteran with over 15 years of competitive experience on the world stage. Born in Moscow and raised in Montreal with strong roots in Russia and Guinea, Baldé is now one of the most sought-after professional skaters in the world today, renowned for his innovative and soulful approach to his craft, dynamic infusion of dance, and his innate musicality and charisma both on and off the ice. Since gaining global notoriety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Balde has amassed celebrity fans including Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Aniston, Ryan Reynolds, Snoop Dogg, Jesse Reyez, Taraji P. Henson, Saweetie, Dan Levy, Jennifer Garner, Octavia Spencer, and many more. Having been featured on The New York Times, Good Morning America, ABC news, BBC, Complex Magazine, CBS Sports and more – Baldé’s dedication to increasing representation and accessibility to the BIPOC community remains top priority with the announcement of his non-profit organization – Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance, to which he co-founded. He remains the first Black male figure skater to join the cast of Stars on Ice Canada, and the first Black skater male or female to join since 1992, and is fluent in three languages - English, French and Russian.

 

Costa Rican Olympic gymnast Luciana Alvarado

Luciana Alvarado Reid is a Costa Rican artistic gymnast who represented her country at the 2019 World Championships and the 2019 Pan American Games.She took the silver medal in the all-around at the 2021 Pan American Championships, earning a continental berth for the 2020 Summer Olympics, and also became Pan American champion on the balance beam. She is the first Costa Rican gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games.

 

 

 

 

Retired U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad
Ibtihaj Muhammad is an entrepreneur, activist, speaker and Olympic medalist in fencing. A 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 5-time Senior World medalist and World Champion, in 2016, Ibtihaj became the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab. Ibtihaj was a 3-time All American at Duke University where she graduated with a dual major in International Relations and African Studies. In 2014, Ibtihaj launched her own clothing company, Louella, which aims to bring modest, fashionable and affordable clothing to the United States market. In 2017, Mattel announced their first hijabi Barbie, modeled in Ibtihaj’s likeness, as part of Barbie’s “Shero” line of dolls. The Barbie became available for purchase in July 2018. Ibtihaj released her debut memoir in July 2018, PROUD: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream. Ibtihaj released her third book, children’s picture book, The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab & Family, that became a New York Times’ Best-Seller. Ibtihaj is a sports ambassador with the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sport Initiative, and works closely with organizations like Athletes for Impact and the Special Olympics. Named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential list, Ibtihaj is an important figure in a larger global discussion on equality and the importance of sport. Her voice continues to unite both the sports and non-sports world.

Retired NBA player Etan Thomas

Etan Thomas has been the personification of “The Activist Athlete.” his entire 11 NBA career. Thomas defies the stereotype of the apolitical athlete, planting his roots in his formidable literary career, passion for mentoring and civic engagement. His latest work, We Matter “Athletes And Activism” was released March 6th 2018, Thomas has amassed an amazing collection of interviews intertwined with the heartfelt commentary of his own to create a masterpiece. You’ll read the voices of athletes, activists, media personalities, scholars, and the family of victims of police brutality. We Matter was listed as one of the top ten best activism books of all time by Book Authority. And tied for best non-fiction for 2018 by the African-American Literary Awards (AALAS). Thomas continues this conversation holding Town Hall panels through-out the country at prisons, churches, Universities, schools, and various conventions where he continues to inspire, motivate and support generations.

 

 

Professional soccer player Kei Kamara

To Kei Kamara, his home country of Sierra Leone means everything to him. Born in Kenema on Sept 1, 1984, he spent his childhood days like most African youngsters - playing soccer/football. Over the past 15 years Kei has had an illustrious professional career that has included stints in the English Premier & Championship Leagues, and Veikkausliiga, the top division in Finland. He currently ranks 5th on the all-time MLS goal scorers list and is one of only 10 players to score over 100 goals. Kei has also represented Sierra Leone (Leone Stars) on the national stage for 12 years and helped lead the team to the 2021 African Cup of Nations Tournament for the first time since 1996. In 2012, The Kei Kamara HeartShapedHands Foundation was founded with the sole purpose of providing scholarships to schools and students in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The foundation, named after his signature goal celebration, has allowed Kamara to follow his heart and use his hands to give back to the place he loves. In addition, Kei has also been an active board member of the Black Players for Change (BPC) organization “committed to tackling racial injustices that have limited Black people from an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society.” When he's not playing soccer, Kei likes to spend time with his wife Kristin and three children - Kierin, Kendrick, Kaelan, and dog Chelsea (affectionately named after his favorite soccer team).

Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights

Uzra Zeya, a diplomatic and non-profit leader with over 30 years of international affairs acumen, served as Deputy Lead for the State Department Agency Review Team for the Biden-Harris Transition. From 2019 to 2021, she served as President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a non-partisan global network of 130+ organizations working in 180+ countries to end conflict by peaceful means. During her distinguished 27-year Foreign Service career, Ms. Zeya served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in Paris; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State; Political Minister-Counselor in New Delhi; and Deputy Executive Secretary to Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton. She also served in Syria, Egypt, Oman, Jamaica and various policy roles at the Department of State. Ms. Zeya is a Life Member of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) and co-authored a 2020 CFR report on Revitalizing the State Department and American Diplomacy. Her insights on U.S. diplomacy, human rights, and national security policies have been highlighted in Politico, Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and international media. Ms. Zeya speaks Arabic, French and Spanish. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University and is the recipient of several State Department Superior Honor and Senior Performance awards, the Presidential Rank Award, and the French Legion d’Honneur.