Biographies

This page will be updated as conference planning progresses. Please check back in the coming months.

2018 Featured Speakers

Keynote Speakers

2018 World Affairs Conference speaker Kerry EmanuelKerry Emanuel
Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science
Co-Director of the Lorenz Center
MIT

Dr. Kerry Emanuel is the Cecil and Ida Green professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been on the faculty since 1981, after spending three years on the faculty of UCLA. Professor Emanuel's research interests focus on tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. His interests also include cumulus convection, and advanced methods of sampling the atmosphere in aid of numerical weather prediction. He is the author or co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and three books, including Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes, published by Oxford University Press and aimed at a general audience, and What We Know about Climate Change, published by the MIT Press. He is a co-director of MIT’s Lorenz Center, a climate think tank devoted to basic, curiosity driven climate research.

José R. B2018 World Affairs Conference speaker ose Ballesterosallesteros
Steven Muller Distinguished Professor of Arts
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Mary’s City, MD

Cacayo Ballesteros (José R. Ballesteros, Quito, Ecuador) is The Steven Muller Distinguished Professor of Arts at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he has taught since 2002. He is a co-author of the Spanish literary anthology Voces de España. Ballesteros is also an editor for the Library of Congress's Handbook of Latin American Studies. Ballesteros is a translator of poetry and the chief editor of Zozobra Publishing, a bilingual poetry press in Maryland. Cacayo’s poetry has been published in several journals in the US and has been anthologized in Al Pie de La Casa Blanca: Poetas Hispanos de Washington, DC (Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española, 2010). His first book of poems Lovedust/Polvo enamorado (Izote Press), was published in early 2014. His latest poetry publication, appears in the Delaware Poetry Review's volume on the music icon Prince.

Samuel M2018 World Affairs Conference speaker Sami Mirandairanda
Educator, Poet, Visual Artist
Washington, DC

Samuel Miranda grew up in the South Bronx and has made his home in Washington, DC. He is a visual artist, poet and teacher who uses his craft to highlight the value of everyday people and places. His work has been heavily influenced by Puerto Rican culture and family history, as well as his interactions with the people in his city, his students, and people he encounters in his travels.

He experiments with sculpture made from found objects, paintings and carvings that are influenced by the work of Puerto Rican saints carvers. Much of his work is figurative and explores how the body and face illustrate the successes, hardships and beliefs that people carry with them. He collaborates with other artists in order to develop conversations that push his thinking and widen his understanding of the connection that artists make with their art. He is the author of Departure, a chapbook published by Central Square Press and his poetry has been published in anthologies and journals and he has performed his work at venues such as the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and the Kennedy Center. His art has been exhibited throughout the DC metropolitan area, New York and Puerto Rico and is included in private collections as well as the University of Maryland University College collection.

Ballesteros and Miranda's recent collaboration, Knocking on the Door of the Whitehouse: Latina and Latino Poets in Washington DC, showcases activist voices protesting the treatment of Latinos under the current presidential administration.

Conference Speakers

Jane Kleeb, Founder
Bold Nebraska
Ayr, NE

Jane Kleeb is an experienced grassroots organizer, manager, political strategist and nonprofit entrepreneur. In 2010, she founded Bold Nebraska, leading farmers, ranchers and Native allies in an effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Jane’s organizing style earned her the title “Keystone Killer” and she was featured in the NY Time Magazine. Bold Nebraska expanded into the national Bold Alliance, focusing on protecting property rights, water and the clean energy transition. Kleeb lives in rural Nebraska with her husband, Scott, and three daughters.

Benjamin LeBrot, MD
Founder and CEO,
Floating Doctors
Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Benjamin LaBrot is a native Southern Californian with a long association with the ocean. From childhood, he worked on commercial fishing and research vessels and spent countless hours on (or under) the water off the coast of Southern California.

Dr. LaBrot attended the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland and worked as a medical doctor in the Irish Health Care System, eventually helping to set up and then run a long-term care elderly facility that also provided acute hospital services. Travel and private medical mission work in developing countries led him to combine his love of the sea and medicine to bring more help to remote rural communities, founding the Floating Doctors in 2009. In 2010, Dr. LaBrot led the first Floating Doctors mission to Haiti and has been continuing ever since. Dr. LaBrot is also the President of RemoteCare Education, providing training for clinicians planning to practice international medical relief, and a professor of Global Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Dr. LaBrot, says that each successive time he traveled in the developing world, his backpack carried fewer personal items and more medical supplies, and that the most heartbreaking part of doing medicine in the developing world is when the backpack is empty and there are still many people in desperate need. For him, Floating Doctors and his crew of dedicated volunteers is “A much bigger backpack over many thousands of miles; I promised myself I would come back to the developing world with more help, and now I finally have the chance to keep my promise.”

Marjorie Heier, MD
Medical Director, Missions Clinic
Rufunsa District, Zambia

Dr. Marjorie Heier is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and the Lincoln Medical Education Partners Family Medicine Residency Program. She practiced rural medicine for 22 years before accepting a contract as a consultant while preparing to go to Zambia to work as medical director of a privately owned, publicly operated Missions Clinic, which she has done for more than three years. She remains board certified in Family Medicine in the US, which she has been for 27 years, and has full licensure as a physician in Zambia as well, where she is the sole practicing physician in Rufunsa District with a population of more than 65,000. She is in Nebraska on furlough, visiting her parents and children.

Roy, Machamire, Founder and Chair
International Shine Bright Foundation
Denver, CO

Roy Machamire is the founder and chairman of the board for The International Shine Bright Foundation. He is also an alumni of the University of Nebraska at Kearney for undergraduate studies, and University of Nebraska Lincoln for his graduate studies. Currently, Roy works as an Actuary for Kaiser Permanente, a non-profit health care organization. Growing up in Africa has made Roy passionate about creating opportunities for the less privileged children. Hence his passion and will drove him to start Shine Bright, a non profit organization geared towards building orphanages in third world countries. At a time when his own country was in political turmoil, Roy found time and scribbled a powerful and inspiring poem, I admire you, as a tribute to the people of Zimbabwe. The poem melted many hearts across the world, and gave Roy a platform as one of the voices to listen to regarding social and economic issues of Africa. https://www.thesouthafrican.com/zimbabwean-poem-about-liberation-set-to-melt-hearts/