Bay Path College                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    588 Longmeadow Street

    Longmeadow, MA  01106

    www.baypath.edu                                  DATE:  March 2, 2010


    MEDIA CONTACT:  Nicole Soucy, Senior Writer, 413.565.1234 or nsoucy@baypath.edu



    Keynote speakers include Soledad O’Brien, Leigh Anne and Collins Tuohy, Somaly Mam, and Nicholas D. Kristof


    Longmeadow, MA—Bay Path College will hold its annual Women’s Leadership Conference on Friday, April 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA.  Celebrating its 15th year as one of the premiere, regional events attended by over 1,000 women and men, this year’s conference captures the spirit of participation and action with the theme Community Matters!

    The 2010 keynote speakers are renowned human activists from the local to the global community level, and include acclaimed special investigations correspondent and host of CNN’s In America documentaries Soledad O’Brien; the mother-daughter team of Leigh Anne and Collins Tuohy, mother and daughter of the family who inspired the 2010 Academy Award-nominated film The Blind Side; Cambodian human rights advocate and CNN Hero Somaly Mam; and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and co-author of the best-selling book Half the Sky:  Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Nicholas D. Kristof.

    Keynote Speakers – Background

    One of the most recognized broadcasters of television news, Soledad O’Brien is the special correspondent and anchor for CNN’s special investigations unit. Since joining CNN in 2003, she has covered Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian tsunami, as well as breaking news in the war in Iraq and across the country.  In 2008, she co-anchored CNN’s election coverage, and is the host of CNN’s In America series, reporting for Black in America, Black in America 2, and Latino in America. 

    Leigh Anne and Collins Tuohy are the adoptive mother and sister of standout NFL Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher.  Their story—made famous by the book and Oscar-nominated film The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock—is a blueprint for perseverance and courage.  Fate connects the Tuohys and Oher, a product of the West Memphis projects. The Tuohys love and commitment help rescue the disadvantaged young man from the mean streets, and turn him into a college-educated, rising football star.  Proving one person, one family can make a difference, the Tuohys are models for how to facilitate grassroots change.

    Cambodian human rights advocate and author Somaly Mam will be part of joint keynote address with Nicholas D. Kristof.  Born in a tribal ethnic minority family in Cambodia, at an early age Mam was sold into a life of sexual slavery.  Escaping and fleeing Cambodia in 1993, she made it her life mission to stop the vicious cycle of exploitation.  The experience of her life and her awakening as an activist are told in their biography The Road of Lost Innocence.  Co-founder of AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Situations) and The Somaly Mam Foundation (www.somalymam.org), she has received enormous international recognition including Glamour’s Women of the Year (2006) and Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the world in 2009.

    Based on the Chinese proverb “women hold up half the sky,” New York Times journalist and author Nicholas D. Kristof’s book Half the Sky:  Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (co-authored with wife Sheryl WuDunn) has been described as a “…call to arms, a call for help, a call for volunteers…for one of our greatest humanitarian issues:  defusing the oppression of women and young girls and unleashing their potential.”  A journalist who has won a Pulitzer for coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement, Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to 140 countries, plus all 50 states.  His vast global knowledge led him and WuDunn to pen this remarkable and pragmatic book with the theme that the road to economic progress and stability by communities, regions, and countries can only be achieved when women are empowered on all levels:  economic, social and education.

    In addition to these keynote speakers, the day features breakout sessions, book signings, a volunteer fair of community organizations and networking opportunities.

    For further information on the Conference and to register, visit www.baypath.edu/conference.  All questions should be directed to 413.565.1066 or toll free at 1.800.782.7284 ext. 1066, or e-mail wlc@baypath.edu.

    For over a century, Bay Path, a four-year private college, has prepared graduates for successful careers and professional advancement.  Enrolling over 2,000 students in its undergraduate college for women, One-Day-A-Week Saturday College for adult women, the Graduate School for men and women, and Bay Path Online, the College is nationally recognized for its innovative and dynamic academic programs.  Visit www.baypath.edu to learn more!

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