(Select talks available on YouTube

May 2019




“The sheer humanity of this story made me weep buckets.” This, from a BBC journalist who’s seen it all. Discover why Bashir’s The Words of My Father, was named a 2018 “Book of the Year” in the U.K.’s leading international weekly for literary culture, The Times Literary Supplement. His “remarkable new memoir” (New Yorker), hailed for bringing the complex history of the Middle East to life, releases in the U.S. this spring.

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Founder of “One of the World’s 100 Greatest Places,” Emma’s Torch, Brodie is the force behind the Brooklyn restaurant-with-a-mission: to transform refugees into skilled chefs and connecting them to New York restaurants for full-time jobs.

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In a stressful world, Kurutz brings HEART to Harlem. A “local treasure,” she founded the Harlem Wellness Center (HWC) to combat health inequity by providing a place of self-care and personal development, via high quality yoga, meditation and health workshops, at a low cost. Since 2003, she’s been creating social interaction between diverse groups of people to reinforce community in an ever-changing neighborhood. With her husband, she also is a co-owner of Plowshares Coffee on the UWS and Harlem. 



An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Mangin is the creator, producer, and director of an ambitious creative storytelling series –UNLADYLIKE2020 – set to release March 2020. She and her team of top-notch producers are breathing life into the rich history of 26 little known or forgotten women of very diverse professional and historical experiences who dared to make change. IG: unladylike2020

December 2019




Cited as “one of the most brilliant writers of her generation,” Edelstein has written a “stunning” literary memoir, This Really Isn’t About You, which was long-listed for the UK’s prestigious Wellcome Literary Prize. @jhedelstein

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Arguably Harlem’s hottest new spot of 2019, Impact Farm is an urban agricultural oasis and the brainchild of Harlem Grown’s visionary Tony Hillery and Danish design studio, Human Habitat. Turning blight into bounty, Hillery is a Harlem hero who is connecting and enriching the community in profound ways. @harlemgrown

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A chef whose many accolades include “The best new restaurant in America” (Esquire) and a prestigious James Beard Award, JJ Johnson is the restaurateur behind the cheap, cheerful and soul-satisfying quick-casual restaurant, FIELDTRIP on 116th & Lenox, in the heart of Harlem. His latest cookbook, Between Harlem and Heaven, is a visually delectable collaboration with fellow tastemakers  Alexander Smalls and Veronica Chambers. IG and Twitter: @chefjj

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Visiting from Copenhagen, a chief architect of Harlem Grown’s Impact Farm, Kjaer presents a persuasive picture for the future of food, community and economic design.  @human_habitat_cph

February 2019

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Following on her “moving and beautifully written” debut novel, Salt Houses, which earned her an NPR book-of-the-year nod and other rave reviews, Alyan’s highly anticipated poetry collection, The Twenty-Ninth Year, releases in early 2019. A recent Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winner, her work wrestles with inter-generational displacement and the question of “what is home?" @HalaNAlyan       

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan


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The former director of Human Rights Watch, Bogert urges us to understand and remedy the U.S.’s no. 1 human rights issue: the criminal justice system. She’s the first-ever president of the Marshall Project – a news organization fully committed to this goal. After living in China, Southeast Asia and the Soviet Union as a Newsweek correspondent, she now calls Harlem home. @CarrollBogert

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The 1963 March on Washington. The 2017 Women's Marches. Do protests work, and if so, what are the attributes of effective activism to make change? A longtime grassroots organizer, journalist and expert on social movements and activism, Kauffman explores the history of protest and mass demonstration in America in her new book, “How to Read a Protest: The art of organizing and resistance.” @LAKauffman 

Photo: Nan Goldin 

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Why is it that between the ages of 8 and 14, girls' confidence levels fall by 30%, and why does this matter to ALL of us? This is a topic that Harlem resident Raymond has thought a lot about and – more importantly – as the creator of Funny Girls, is DOING something about by applying the principles of improv and five leadership skills to help bridge the gap. @harnischfound


A gifted lawyer, lawmaker and 

contributor to the Civil Rights

Movement, Percy Sutton was also a visionary entrepreneur 

whose investments created cultural touchstones WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM and saved the Apollo Theater from certain doom. His granddaughter, Keisha Sutton-James, a media executive in her own right, is planning a series of passion projects to honor his legacy.   @ksuttonjames

November 2018

June 2018

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Clark's debut book, "Enemies in Love (The New Press), uncovers a remarkable story of a German POW, a black nurse and an unlikely romance that took place 20 years before Loving v. Virginia would legalize interracial marriage. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School who has written for The New York Times, The History Channel, NBC News Digital and the Smithsonian Magazine, among others. @msabclark

Photo: Julie Skarratt




Acclaimed novelist, journalist and literary translator, Gessen’s latest work, “A Terrible Country,” is “hilarious,” “heartbreaking” and draws upon his Russian roots. A founding editor of literary magazine, n+1, he is also an assistant professor at Columbia University. @keithgessen

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Why is it that between the ages of 8 and 14, girls' confidence levels fall by 30%, and why does this matter to ALL of us? This is a topic that Harlem resident Raymond has thought a lot about and – more importantly – as the creator of Funny Girls, is DOING something about by applying the principles of improv and five leadership skills to help bridge the gap. @harnischfound

June 2018



A dynamic "doer," Dobson is Executive Director of The Maysles Documentary Center (MDC), a "crown jewel" in the heart of Harlem.  In addition, she is Executive Producer of the new "My House" TV series, on Viceland, about NYC's house ballroom scene that'll "vogue its way into your heart." -The New York Times



A break-out book of 2018, Parker’s The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, is a must read, offering a bold new approach that will transform the ways we spend our time together. M.I.T., Harvard, and University of Virginia-educated, Parker has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India. @priyaparker



An international journalist and biographer, Richardson’s House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row tells the stunning true story of two brothers from North London who, through fashion and film, influenced some of the most iconic styles and pop images of the twentieth century. Originally from Australia, Richardson currently resides in NYC. @lancerichardson



Quite simply, the world’s best-selling wine author, Zraly started as a sommelier 107 stories atop One World Trade Center in 1976, where he became the founder, teacher and author of the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. 20,000 students later, Zraly also is the recipient of the prestigious James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award.

April 2018



Author of several novels, including the book behind the Oscar-winning Best Adapted Screenplay, Call Me by Your Name, Aciman teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. @aaciman



Photo: Sigrid Estrada



Smart women tell it like it is. That is why Britney Cooper is someone worth listening to, and why she has been called a “national treasure.” Author of Eloquent Rage and professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, Cooper is “one to watch” and a helpful resource as we navigate our times.  @professorcrunk

Photo: Ryan Lash Photography



To meet Crews, you’d never suspect her chaotic childhood. Born to deaf parents, she’s a world-class comedic storyteller and owner of Q.E.D. in Queens, NY. “Fresh, fearless and singular,” her memoir, Burn Down the Ground, is “addictive and heartbreaking,” devastating and delightful. @kambri



From storyteller to luxury fragrance designer, Johnson turned a passion project – creating artisan candles in her kitchen – into a business when she launched a collection of scents inspired by the rich cultural history of her home neighborhood of Harlem, paying tribute to the “essences” of people, like Josephine Baker and Duke Ellington, and places like Lenox Avenue and the Savoy Ballroom. @travelistateri



Israel. Palestine. Oslo. Rogers’ 2017 Tony Award-winning “Best Play” reminds us that even one of the most controversial conflicts of our time need not be a Third Rail. Former Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, said of it: “[Oslo] shows us what can happen when men and women on opposite sides of what is perceived as an intractable divide strive to create a shared humanity." Meet the playwright who dared. @stagewriter                                                                                                                                                                               Photo: Rebecca Ashley

January 2018



Acclaimed author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl – the inspiration behind Tom Hooper’s Academy Award-winning film – Ebershoff teaches in the graduate writing program at Columbia University. @davidebershoff



Seasoned journalist and mega-thinker, Franklin is the London-based Executive Editor of The Economist and recent editor of "Megatech: Technology in 2050." The mastermind behind the magazine’s annual “The World in [2018]” series, which looks at trends in business and society, Franklin is “one to watch” when it comes to demystifying the disruptive – and creative – forces at work in our culture, societies and global economies.



Named one of “30 Most Creative Women in Advertising,” Gordon is the highly-acclaimed entrepreneur and visionary behind The 3% Movement, a powerhouse initiative that is upping the numbers of women and people of color behind the advertising messages that we see daily. @katgordon



From the projects of Motown-era Michigan to the skyscrapers of New York City, Graves – a former teenage mother and current Harlem resident – has been dubbed an ad industry legend. Of her 

memoir, Essence wrote: "Graves’s can’t-stop-won’t-stop energy offers a jump start toward meeting objectives and renews hope. Pressure Makes Diamonds is about more than overcoming.” @valgb

The poet Kanye West, Rihanna and Iggy Azalea love is the Harlem-born up-and-comer whose words from "Your Bitter Is My Sweet" are recited by West on the track "Blame Game" on his  Grammy award winning album featuring John Legend. Her poem "If they let us" is written in braille on the front cover of Rihanna's album "ANTI." Therapy Sessions: Volume 1 is her first book of poetry. @imchloemitchell

October 2017



Named to Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women, Dufu is a catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership and the author of Drop the Ball, a memoir and manifesto that shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need to thrive: the ability to let go. A resident of Harlem and co-founder of Harlem4Kids, Dufu is the Chief Leadership Officer of Levo, one of the fastest-growing professional millennial networks. @tdufu



Hailed for her unparalleled understanding of the events and forces shaping her native country in recent times, Russian-born Gessen is the award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and others. Her latest book, The Future is History, is named a top 10 nonfiction book of 2017 by The National Book Awards. 




Scott is chief film critic for The New York Times and the author of Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Beauty, Pleasure, and Truth




A James Beard Award-winning writer and historian, Wondrich is one of the world's foremost authorities on cocktails and their history. He is a founder of the craft cocktail movement and the author of Imbibe! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar. 


June 2017


A 10-year Google veteran, digital innovator, sales specialist, and serial business builder, David has dedicated the last two years towards helping people with multicultural backgrounds prosper, while also helping companies meaningfully connect with them.



A former columnist for the leading paper of South Korea (Chosun Ilbo), Lee is a two-time national bestselling novelist, most recently for Pachinko – a “stunning,” “page-turning” saga about a fourth-generation Korean immigrant family living in Japan – which was named a finalist for the 2017 National Book Awards. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was a "Top 10" Novel of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air and USA Today. @minjinlee11


Based on his work at some of the world's largest companies, Madsbjerg takes a provocative stand against the tyranny of big data and science, and an urgent, overdue defense of human intelligence in his new book, Sensemaking. Born in Denmark, Madsbjerg studied philosophy and political science in Copenhagen and earned his Masters from the University of London.



An award-winning journalist, Piore is a former editor and correspondent for Newsweek, and author of the recently released The Body Builders. He explores new scientific frontiers, including robotics and human body “augmentation” – made possible by advances in bioengineering, which can be used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings – painting a vivid portrait of the people he profiles along the way.