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It seems students always have

“better things to do.�

So, how do you get them to your campus event?

Talent Matters, Exclusivity Counts

It’s easy: our speakers help you draw a crowd. Introducing GTN’s Featured Exclusive Speakers for ‘09/10: Meghan McCain

Political Columnist, Author & Award-Winning Blogger.………………….……………………….4

Harold Ford, Jr. & Michael Steele

In Conversation: The Future of America…………………………………………………………5

Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield

Co-Founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.…………………………………………………….6

Emmanuel Jal

Former Sudanese Child Soldier & Hip-Hop Artist.……………………………………………….7

Catherine Hardwicke

Visionary Director of Twilight.……………………………….................……………………….8

Mike Henry

Writer, Producer of Family Guy & Co-Creator of The Cleveland Show.………..............................…9

Michael Uslan

Batman Executive Producer & Comic Book Historian..………………………………………….10

Brett Ratner

Renowned Director, Producer & Entrepreneur.………………………………………………….11

Sean Astin

Renowned Actor & Director.………………………………………………………….……….12

Melissa Anelli

Author, Webmistress, Literary Commentator & Harry Potter Expert………………………………13

Byron Pitts

CBS News Chief National Correspondent & Contributing Correspondent, 60 Minutes…………….14

John Forté

Singer, Songwriter & Producer…………………………………………………….....………...14

Reza Aslan

Best-Selling Author & Middle East Expert………………………………………………………15

Ali Velshi

CNN Chief Business Correspondent……………………………………………....………...…15

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Looking for a Standing Room Only turnout? Our hottest tips for getting your speaker seen on campus:

Timing is Everything.

When planning an event, consider the rhythm of student life on your campus. For example, schools with a large commuter population might want to re-consider offering a Friday night performance. Finals time might not be the best opportunity for a heady presentation on the future of global politics, but an entertaining, studybreak program may give students a better reason to fill those auditorium seats.

Free Stuff.

The mantra of college students nationwide. Offer free theme-based giveaways to help raise awareness about an event, and never underestimate the power of the prominently publicized words "FREE ICE CREAM." It works wonders for gathering a crowd of cafeteria-fed students.

Make Use of Faculty Resources. Don't forget to invite

campus dignitaries to your event, which can greatly increase a presentation's profile around campus and in local media. Also, let professors know about your program. Many times, they will offer extra credit to students for attending relevant lectures, or at least help get the word out to their classes.

Advertising and Press Releases. Advertising works

Paper. Paper. Paper.

Within the realms of environmental consciousness, good old-fashioned paper fliers, posters and handouts are still a great way to make an impression on campus. Post flyers in heavily trafficked areas and hand out quarter-flyers the week of the event. Also ask your GTN representative about any existing promotional materials available on the speaker, including posters and press releases.

Movie Screenings. A

movie that doesn't cost $10.50 will often attract students in droves. Bringing in an associated lecture program is the perfect way to turn a film screening into a major campus event.

Tie-In with Other Groups. In addition to elevating

awareness about a particular event, cosponsoring with other organizations, clubs or departments on campus can help to meet the cost of bringing in speakers.

Bonus Activities. Often

times, a book signing, press conference, media interview or other special request can be accommodated to help promote an event. Check with your GTN representative about the possibility of arranging such activities as soon as you feel there may be interest. Generally the more notice you are able to provide, the greater the possibility of making it happen.

best when it's timely and consistent. Begin advertising in the college newspaper a month prior to an event, and in local community papers two to three weeks before. Also, take advantage of college radio and television spots to help publicize.

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Enhancing Civility in Politics: Meghan McCain

“I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.” prominent voices in politics, from Karl Rove to Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. As a columnist for The Daily Meghan McCain Political Columnist, Author & Award-Winning Blogger Beast Meghan often responds to her own party’s attacks, but also discusses America’s most challenging issues with a clear As the daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain, Meghan objective: to help the Republican Party expand and survive. was propelled into the national spotlight at an early age, Meghan is currently working on a highly-anticipated book involved in everything from community events to national chronicling her personal journey across the American conventions. Meghan’s unparalleled exposure to American political landscape, to be published by Hyperion in 2010. politics gave her the opportunity to hear voters debate the At the podium, Meghan openly discusses her personal most complex issues first-hand from the campaign trail. experiences on the campaign trail and her observations on As a result, her unique perspective and bold approach has the future of the Republican Party. Often said to possess the not only galvanized a younger generation of Republicans; McCain “maverick gene,” Meghan has no qualm in saying Meghan has launched a national movement to redefine what is on her mind and brags that she inherited “my dad’s Republican stereotypes and values: heartburn-inducing ability to say what he thinks.” To give Americans a real sense of life behind-the-scenes on the campaign trail, Meghan launched “The blog, for me, was showing young women they could be interested in politics and everything else. I chose to show that I’m a real person with shortcomings, and that this is my life.” McCainBlogette has been recognized with two distinguished awards in politics: The Golden Dot Award for Best Blog, and two Pollie Awards from the Association of Political and Public Affairs Professionals.

A powerful role model for young women and Republicans alike, she passionately discusses women’s issues, social issues and marriage equality. Meghan firmly believes that Republicans need to get back to their core beliefs—and that there is room for all walks of life in the Party.

While writing her blog, Meghan never imagined the mainstream media would pay attention to her social and political commentary. Quite the contrary has proven true: her positions have been discussed by some of the most

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On the Future of America:

Harold Ford, Jr. & Michael Steele

“America is headed in a direction fraught with a lot of challenge...and opportunity.” —Harold Ford, Jr. resurrecting our economic health and integrity; modernizing our military assets and strategy; managing sustainable levels of government spending and establishing entitlement, regulatory and tax reform.

Harold Ford, Jr.

Chairman, Democratic Leadership Council & NBC News Analyst

Harold Ford, Jr. served Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 years. Described by President Michael Steele Clinton as the “walking, living Chairman, Republican National embodiment of where America Committee ought to go in the 21st century,” he is passionate about free enterprise and balanced budgets. Ford is now the Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and a political analyst for MSNBC. Ford’s agenda for the party includes growing America’s economy, strengthening our moral standing in the world, ridding our dependence on oil, and modernizing our military to protect us from Democracy’s enemies.

Looking ahead, Harold Ford, Jr. and Michael Steele explore the most critical issues facing America in the 21st Century. Together they confront key concerns facing every American: stability in the Middle East, domestic security, energy policy, Michael Steele earned his place in Maryland’s history when he became the healthcare and education reform, military first African-American to be elected to statewide office. Steele’s first major transformation and the economy. national exposure came during an appearance at the 2004 Republican National As prominent leaders representing both sides Convention. Previously the Chairman of GOPAC, he is currently the Chairman of the political spectrum, Ford and Steele of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and is a regular analyst on FOX will engage your audience in a passionate News. As a self-described Lincoln Republican, Steele’s mission is to steer the party discussion of hot-button issues that will shape back to its core values of small government, strong national defense and an end to our nation’s future. At the podium, Ford and pork barrel spending. Steele discuss diversifying America’s energy sources; overhauling U.S. healthcare and education systems; re-establishing our moral authority through diplomacy; strengthening America’s international reputation;

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Bringing a Best-Seller to the Big Screen: Catherine Hardwicke

“My challenge was to translate Stephenie’s powerful book and make you feel what she makes you feel when you read her words.” Times “Hardwicke has connected so intensely to the Meyer novel that it’s hard to imagine anyone else making a better version.”

Catherine Hardwicke

Visionary Director of Twilight

Twilight: The Director’s Notebook is an intimate look at the creative process of visionary director Catherine Hardwicke while making Summit Entertainment’s Twilight. Designed to replicate the director’s own personal notebook that she kept on set, readers will discover the inside secrets on casting, location scouting and wardrobe to storyboard sketches, behind-thescenes photographs, personal notes about Catherine’s favorite scenes and much more.

Catherine Hardwicke trained as an architect at the University of Texas, and started in film as a production designer. She designed over 20 films, including Tombstone, Tank Girl, Three Kings and Vanilla Sky. Hardwicke’s debut as a feature film co-writer and director was the Sundance award winning Thirteen. Made for under $2 million dollars, it garnered an Academy Award nomination for Holly Hunter. She has since directed Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story and most recently, Twilight. At the podium, Hardwicke explores why she chose to move from production design to directing; how she chooses a film project, from the script to other factors; and the director’s role in bringing a megabestseller to the big screen.

“With this book, I tried to show fans and aspiring filmmakers some of the process that the crew and I went through filming Twilight. My challenge was to translate Stephenie’s powerful book and make you feel what she makes you feel when you read her words.” The movie version of Twilight has grossed over $340 million worldwide since its release on November 21, 2008. The movie debuted at #1 at the box office with $70 million in gross ticket sales, making it the highest debut ever for a female director. Said The Los Angeles

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Behind the Scenes of Family Guy & The Cleveland Show: Mike Henry

“Cleveland started, I believe, in episode 4. I started pitching kind of the anti-hip-hop character. Cleveland’s kind of sweet, and I think that resonated.” Henry and his brother are the creators of the internet-based hidden-camera parody series Kicked in the Nuts.

Mike Henry

Writer, Producer of Family Guy & Co-Creator of The Cleveland Show

In 1995, after several years of doing stand-up, improv and commercials, Mike Henry met Seth MacFarlane while acting in his brother’s student films at the Rhode Island School of Design. They kept in touch, and when MacFarlane sold the show, he asked Henry to come on and write some “gags.” Henry was a writer on Family Guy for the series’ first six seasons. He voices many of the characters he created including Cleveland, Cleveland Jr., Herbert, Consuela, the Performance Artist, and the Greased-Up Deaf Guy.

At the podium, Henry takes audiences behind the scenes of Family Guy and The Cleveland Show with never-beforeseen clips and hilarious outtakes. He also shares in how he developed some of the programs’ funniest characters. Included in his presentation are talks about his personal road to success via “cutting his own path” and never giving up on the unconventional dream of pursuing a career in comedic writing. With humorous Family Guy video clips and anecdotes about making the show, Henry’s presentation is entertaining, inspiring and truly comedic. Henry lives in Los Angeles and hails from Richmond, VA.

“I should have the domain name, because basically I’m there to make Seth laugh. So if we’re in the booth and I’m making him laugh, then I’ll just kind of start riffing on something and then sometimes that’ll go into the episode.” Henry will star in his own Family Guy spin-off, The Cleveland Show as the voice of Cleveland, Rallo, Wally and others. His additional acting credits include Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, Yes, Dear, American Dad and Robot Chicken.

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Social & Environmental Responsibility: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield

tester, truck driver, marketing director, salesperson and president. Jerry began by making all the ice cream, but as the company expanded into new markets, he soon found himself handling everything from distribution to orientation to employee motivation. A model for modern American corporate responsibility and business success, Ben and Jerry have been recognized for fostering commitment Ben Cohen Jerry Greenfield Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade to social responsibility by the Council on Economic Priorities, which awarded Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are the men behind one them the Corporate Giving Award in 1988 (for donating of the most talked-about and least conventional success 7.5 percent of pre-tax profits to non-profit organizations. stories in American business. Founders of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., they built a store-front venture into a Ben and Jerry realize that by definition, the manufacturing $300 million ice cream empire by harnessing the power of of products creates waste. As they expand into Europe and Asia, Ben and Jerry remain conscious of their impact on the social responsibility and creative management. environment and believe it’s possible to be profitable and Born just four days apart, Ben and Jerry met during junior environmentally responsible. Environmentally Responsible high and remained close through their years at Calhoun Economies (CERES). High in Merrick, NY. After college and various odd jobs, the two reunited in 1977 to fulfill a dream they both Bringing all of this to life Free shared: running a food business. Settling on an ice cream at the lecture podium, Ben Ice Cream proved to be the winning formula. One year and a $5 Penn and Jerry’s presentation is a for the Entire State correspondence course in ice cream making later, they rousing tribute to America’s Audience! entrepreneurial spirit, opened their first Ben & Jerry’s Homemade ice cream parlor full of hilarious anecdotes in Burlington, VT. and radical business The duo soon became known throughout Vermont for philosophy—and comes rich, unusual flavors and a community-oriented approach complete with servings of to business, whereby good will, good times and good ice Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for cream were shared through a variety of events, such as an the entire audience. autumn “Fall Down” Festival, a free outdoor movie festival and celebrating their anniversary with Free Cone Days. As the company grew, Ben’s jobs included scooper and taste-

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A Child of War, An Icon of Survival: Emmanuel Jal

“I believe I have survived for a reason... to tell my story and touch lives.” —Emmanuel Jal In WARchild, Jal wrote a song for rap artist 50 Cent that calls for accountability of the “gangsta mentality” glamorized by American hip hop artists.

Emmanuel Jal

Former Sudanese Child Soldier & Hip-Hop Artist

Once a child soldier on the front lines of combat in wartorn Sudan, Emmanuel Jal has been hailed as the “rising star of African hip hop.” WARchild, his third album and international solo debut, has launched Jal into the spotlight for its profound, empowering messages of peace and reconciliation. As the central figure of the internationally acclaimed War Child documentary, Jal has quickly become an international icon representing social justice and human rights. To this day Jal doesn’t know when he was born or exactly how old he is. Jal’s story begins in Sudan during what has become one of history’s most brutal civil wars. At no more than 6 years old, Jal was sent away to become a rebel fighter for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), armed with a machine gun taller than he was. While children around the world were learning to read and write, Jal was learning to survive in the epicenter of famine and suffering. At roughly 11 years old, Emmanuel joined more than 400 other child soldiers in a courageous desertion of rebel lines. He was one of only 16 children to survive the journey.

In addition to playing alongside Moby at The Concert to End Slavery, and performing at Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Celebration, Jal’s music has been featured on soundtracks including Blood Diamond and ER. He has also been featured in Rolling Stone, Vibe, The Guardian, USA Today, CNN, Q Magazine and on NPR. The War Child documentary, which won the Tribeca Film Festival Cadillac Audience Award, continues to gain accolades at prestigious film festivals worldwide. In addition to his ongoing international tour, Jal’s first book, War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story, was released in February 2009 and was called “Quietly stirring,” by The New York Times. At the podium, Jal offers a greater philosophical message about war and peace. He translates his traumatic past as a child soldier into a positive experience that reflects the strength of human character. His lecture focuses on the power of human generosity, the need for political support in Darfur and what each of us can do to make a difference. Music is central to his message and at each appearance, Jal raps for freedom and sings for absolution.

Billboard magazine recognized his most recent release as the album that “moves Jal into more mainstream hip-hop territory” while keeping his distance from the genre’s image. Emmanuel speaking at Ted Global 2009

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The Man Behind BATMAN: Michael Uslan

In 1979, Uslan secured the film rights to Batman from DC Comics. He was turned down by every studio in Hollywood. The reason he was consistently given: Batman was from the funny pages and wasn’t supposed to be taken “seriously.” Ten years later, Batman was the highest grossing film of the year, breaking numerous box office records and spawning a genre of films adapted from comics.

Michael Uslan

BATMAN Executive Producer

Michael Uslan is best known as the originator and Executive Producer of the Batman movie series, starting with Tim Burton’s 1989 film, and continuing to 2008’s box office record-breaking The Dark Knight. Less well known is that the first Batman film was the culmination of Uslan’s more than two decades of work to bring a serious, dark version of the character to the big screen. Uslan’s start in the world of comics was as unlikely as his success in bringing Batman to the theaters. Born into a blue collar family in New Jersey, Uslan was instilled at an early age to find work to be passionate about. Knowing he loved comics and films, he set about creating a career. While attending Indiana University, he successfully created and taught the world’s first accredited college course on comic books. The class took an academic approach to the folklore of comic books. A media storm ensued, improbably leading to a job at DC Comics for Uslan.

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In an inspiring program, Uslan takes audiences along on the journey of creating his career to bringing Batman successfully to the big screen. He shares the principles that allowed him to persevere despite repeated rejection and encourages audiences everywhere to reach for their dreams and believe in themselves. In a separate program, Uslan address the founders of the comic book industry and how, not coincidentally, the majority of them are Jewish immigrants or first generation American Jews. Personally familiar with these legends, Uslan shares their anecdotes. Along with many of these creators, Uslan appears in the documentary The Legends Behind the Comic Books. Uslan also reveals the connection of the super heroes created by these men and women to Jewish lore and traditions—from how The Golem spawned The Hulk and just how similar Superman and Moses really are. Uslan has received an Emmy for Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, the Independent Spirit Award, The Hoagy Carmichael Creative Achievement Award and The Distinguished Hoosier Award. Uslan holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence, a Master of Science and a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University. He lives in New Jersey with his wife. They’ve been married for 35 years—a Hollywood record.

From Hip Hop to Hollywood: Brett Ratner

“Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.” —Brett Ratner Hero “Risky Business” campaign and Wynn Resorts’ Encore campaign.

Brett Ratner

Renowned Director, Producer & Entrepreneur

Dubbed “a born storyteller” by LA Weekly, Brett Ratner first dreamed of making movies as a child growing up in Miami Beach, Florida. Throughout elementary school, Ratner made movies in lieu of traditional homework—a talent which helped him skip ahead two grades. In high school, he cut class to hang out on the set of Brian De Palma’s Scarface, until he became such a “nuisance” that De Palma cast him as an extra in the film. After graduating high school early, Ratner was determined to attend New York University Film School but was told that his unimpressive GPA would prevent him from getting in. Ratner refused to accept no for an answer, and after barging into the Dean’s office with his application he was accepted into the program. At only 16 years old, Ratner became the department’s youngest film major in history. Now the 16th highest grossing film director in history with more than $1 billion in career box office sales, Ratner is also the quintessential entrepreneur. In addition to his directorial work, he runs Rat Entertainment, a film production company; Rat Press, a book publishing company; Rat Records, a record label; and Brett Ratner Brands, the corporate branding company behind Activision’s Guitar

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Ratner’s big break came after he met hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, which resulted in an explosive career directing music videos. At 26 years old he directed his first feature film, the surprise box office hit Money Talks, a comedy starring Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker. Since then, his feature films (which include the wildly popular Rush Hour series, The Family Man, X-Men: The Last Stand, Red Dragon and After the Sunset) have grossed more than a billion dollars and broken numerous box office records. Ratner is also the Executive Producer and creative vision behind Fox’s popular drama Prison Break. At the podium, Ratner’s archetypal journey from Miami dreamer to Hollywood mogul comes to life through his signature charm and action-packed storytelling style. Famous for his effortless comedic timing and humorous perspective on success, Ratner encourages audiences to look beyond obstacles and never take no for an answer. Also a prominent and influential figure in the Jewish community, Ratner shares how his shameless chutzpah propelled him into overwhelming success. Ratner currently resides in Beverly Hills.

Brett on location with Miley Cyrus

Leadership & Fellowship: What I Learned as a Goonie, “Rudy,” & a Hobbit Named “Sam:” Sean Astin

“I think that I have a seriousness of purpose, a lot of support and a healthy amount of good fortune. I’m pretty lucky but I realize that that downturn is always only three months away from anybody.” —Sean Astin Boy Meets Girl, Smile, The Final Season and Borderland.

Sean Astin

Renowned Actor & Director

Sean Astin made his feature film debut at age 13 as “Mikey Walsh” in Richard Donner’s adventure The Goonies (1984). Sean’s portrayal of a young man determined to play football for Notre Dame in Rudy (1993) won hearts across America, and continues to inspire young people whenever it is shown.

A promising director, Astin garnered an Academy Award nomination for his short film Kangaroo Court, which he co-produced with his wife, Christine. A Directors Guild of America member, Astin has also directed episodes of the HBO anthology series Perversions of Science and Angel for The WB. His short film The Long and Short of It was an official entry at Sundance 2003. Sean is also the narrator for the popular show Meerkat Manor. In his talk, Sean blends an inside look at his life and career along with the important messages that are a unifying theme of his most popular film roles: teamwork and leadership.

Other well-known film credits include Bulworth, Courage Under Fire, Memphis Belle, Encino Man, Like Father Like Son, Where the Day Takes You, Staying Together, War of the Roses, Safe Passage, 50 First Dates and White Water Summer. His role in Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings, as “Samwise Gamgee,” the trustworthy sidekick of “Frodo Baggins” (played by Elijah Wood) earned him accolades around the world. Sean received Best Actor honors for his performance in Low Life at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. He can also be seen in the indie releases Deterrence, Kimberly, The Last Producer,

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The Impact of Pottermania on Academia: Melissa Anelli

last 17 years and details the impact of the series across industries and generations, Harry, a History also follows Anelli’s journey from loyal fan to preeminent Potter expert.

Melissa Anelli

Author, Webmistress, Literary Commentator & Harry Potter Expert

When Melissa Anelli started blogging for The Leaky Cauldron, the most popular Harry Potter fansite on the internet, she had no idea that her hobby was about to become a career. Leaky is the online beacon of the Harry Potter sensation, offering deep insight into everything from Hogwarts to Quidditch for millions of dedicated fans.

As Harry Potter fandom continues to grow and with two films on the horizon, Anelli’s expertise is in high demand on college campuses. Harry Potter captivated an entire generation of students and the series is embraced as literary and academic texts on campuses nationwide. Featured in theology studies, American history, globalization and pop culture—from Yale to Georgetown to Kansas State University—Harry Pottermania has evolved from fantastic wizardry to social anthropology. At the podium, Anelli takes audiences behind the scenes with rare insight into the series, its cultural impact, fan journalism, the challenges presented to fans by corporations and copyright and her time spent with J.K. Rowling herself. Anelli takes on “that flighty temptress, adventure” and brings Harry’s history to life. Her own personal journey is a testament to the themes cherished by Potter followers: never give up, do the right thing and believe in yourself.

Affectionately called “the Harry Potter site of record” by Leaky bloggers, J.K. Rowling has called Leaky a “mine of accurate information on all things Potter,” and the touchstone for “a lot of entertaining debate.” Anelli’s career as a journalist quickly made way for her new adventure: expert historian of the Harry Potter phenomenon, webmistress of the entire Leaky site and leader of the collective Potter fandom. Anelli’s book Harry, a History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon (Simon & Schuster) is quickly becoming an indispensable necessity for enthusiasts. Featuring the only foreward written by J.K. Rowling herself for a book about her series, Harry, a History takes a personal and in-depth look at the pop culture phenomenon surrounding Harry Potter. A ‘yearbook’ of fan experiences that spans the

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Finding Success Through Faith & Perseverance

“No wonder Byron is such an inspired storyteller—his own story is inspiring.” —Katie Couric Known for his thought-provoking coverage and his commitment to exceptional storytelling, Byron Pitts is a multiple Emmy award winning journalist. As Chief National Correspondent for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric Pitts was an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War and was recognized for his work under fire. Pitts was also CBS’ lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage. A news veteran with Byron Pitts over 20 years of experience, other major stories include the war in Afghanistan, the 60 Minutes Correspondent & Author aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the military buildup in Kuwait and the refugee crisis in Kosovo, to name but a few. Pitts realized a life-long goal when he was named a Contributing Correspondent to CBS’ 60 Minutes in 2009. Pitts’ many achievements are all the more extraordinary when he tells of the many obstacles he faced as a child. Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of twelve and had a persistent stutter. At the podium, he shares his incredible story perseverance and strength and inspires audiences to reach for their dreams.

“You can say the judge killed me, then I came to life / A newborn, like a neophyte.” —John Forté song lyrics

John Forté

Singer, Songwriter & Produceré

Few understand second chances better than John E. Forté. On November 24, 2008, President George W. Bush granted the petition for commutation submitted by 33-yearold Forté, a classically-trained violinist and Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer from Brooklyn, New York. Famous for his work with the multi-platinum group “The Fugees,” Forté was the quintessential rising star before landing himself in a federal penitentiary. His was one of only eleven commutations granted by President Bush during his eight years in office—a testament to the dedication of those who tirelessly campaigned on his behalf, including iconic singer Carly Simon and noted conservative Senator Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah.

Forté’s momentous career was uprooted by a crime born out of desperation. He became involved with the wrong crowd—a mistake that resulted in a 14-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Released from Fort Dix on December 22, 2008, Forté has resumed his career by starting to record in the studio, writing a book and serving as the subject of a feature-length documentary about his life. At the podium, Forté shares intimate songs while playing acoustic guitar and speaks candidly of the events leading to his imprisonment, his seven years behind bars and his fight against insurmountable odds to seek redemption. Forte proves that second chances do exist—even in the most unlikely places.

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Analyzing Our Future Opportunities

“How do you win a cosmic war? By refusing to fight in one.” —Reza Aslan

Reza Aslan

Author & Middle East Expert

One of the nation’s most respected experts on Islam and the Middle East, Dr. Reza Aslan has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University and U.C. Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is author of the internationally acclaimed best-seller No god but God: the Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which The New York Times lauded as a “grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined…literate, accessible introduction to Islam.”

The first young Muslim intellectual to come on the scene in years, Aslan brings a new, passionate, and much-needed perspective to the national discussion regarding Islam. In his lectures and writings, Aslan masterfully explores the intricate interplay between faith and politics in the Muslim world, presenting Islam as an ever-evolving faith and culture that is currently in the midst of a cataclysmic internal battle for reform and modernization. He explains with great lucidity the different sects and schism within Islam and demonstrates the variety of ways in which the religion has been understood and interpreted by Muslims and Westerners throughout history.

“Generally speaking, students don’t have themselves to blame they can almost be a little more objective about how things went wrong.” —Ali Velshi, University of Wisconsin

Ali Velshi

An emerging titan of the financial industry, CNN’s Ali Velshi presents an optimistic outlook on the current economic situation—and what’s next for America. His newest book, Gimme My Money Back, explores the current financial crisis, the basics of personal finance and how to capitalize on change. With cutting-edge analysis, Velshi integrates macro and micro principles to present a fresh perspective on the American dream.

CNN Chief Business Correspondent

Ali Velshi is CNN’s Chief Business Correspondent and host of Your $$$$$, CNN’s weekend business roundtable program, as well as a regular contributor and anchor for Issue #1, the network’s in-depth coverage initiative on the single issue that matters most to CNN’s audience. Online users can also listen to Velshi’s podcast, The Ali V Podcast, available at and on iTunes. Born in Kenya and raised in Toronto, Velshi graduated from Queens University in Canada with a degree in religion. Velshi believes that the unique position in life which students occupy also may allow them to approach issues like the economy and health care from a valuable perspective.

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Founded with the belief that words have the ability to change people’s lives, Greater Talent Network is devoted to bringing the most interesting and inspiring stories to audiences worldwide. We exclusively represent: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Spencer Abraham • Reza Aslan • Cory Booker • Wesley Clark • Richard Clarke • Roger Cressey • Harold Ford, Jr. • Louis Freeh • Brigitte Gabriel • Richard Gephardt • Alberto Gonzales • Zachary Karabell • Parag Khanna • Bernard Kouchner • Jonathan Krohn • Mel Martinez • Meghan McCain • Judge Andrew Napolitano • Ehud Olmert • George Pataki • Janet Reno • Dan Senor • Valerie Plame Wilson • Joseph Wilson

PRINT AND BROADCAST JOURNALISM: Jonathan Alter • Tiki Barber • Andy Borowitz • Campbell Brown • Tina Brown • Sir Harold Evans • Susie Gharib • Christopher Hitchens • Steve Kroft • Kati Marton • Peggy Noonan • The Onion • Byron Pitts • Jeffrey Toobin • Ali Velshi • Gideon Yago

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT: Neal Baer • Bob Balaban • John Forté • Danny Glover • Carson Kressley • Seth MacFarlane • Leonard Nimoy • Conan O’Brien • Anthony Rapp • Brett Ratner • Gloria Reuben • Mo Rocca • Peter Sagal • David Steinberg • Ben Vereen • Max Weinberg • Vanessa Williams • Henry Winkler • Anthony Zuiker • Alan Zweibel

MOTIVATION, INSPIRATION, ADVENTURE: Kris Carr • John Douglas • Mia Farrow • George Foreman • Emmanuel Jal • Rory Kennedy • Marcus Luttrell • Marlee Matlin • Rear Adm. T.K. Mattingly • Luma Mufleh • Petra Nemcova • Nell Irvin-Painter • Capt. Winston Scott • Caroll Spinney • Esera Tuaolo • Sean Tuohy

BUSINESS, ECONOMY, MANAGEMENT: Ben & Jerry • Mark Burnett • Paul DePodesta • Donald Fehr • Susie Gharib • Seth Godin • Peter Greenberg • Peter Guber • Noreena Hertz • Mitch Joel • Liz Lange • Cynthia Rowley • Michael Silverstein • Howard Stringer • James Taylor • Jonathan Tisch • Omar Wasow • Meredith Whitney

BEST SELLING AUTHORS: Po Bronson • Max Brooks • Christopher Buckley • Candace Bushnell • Neil Gaiman • Pete Hamill • Homer Hickam • Michael Lewis • Wendy Mogel • Michael Moore • PJ O’Rourke • Richard Preston • Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez • Jennifer Weiner • Tom Wolfe

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Talent Matters, Exclusivity Counts

GTN College Speakers 2009  

A guide featuring GTN's exclusive college speakers, plus tips for event planners

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