Keynote and Plenary Sessions

Ethan Zuckerman
Keynote Speaker

Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at MIT's Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. 

With Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. Global Voices showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages, publishing editions in twenty languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Ethan is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces.

In 2000, Ethan founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer corps that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously Ethan helped found, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. He blogs at and lives in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, USA.

Rob "Biko" Baker
Plenary Panelist

The Executive Director of the League of Young Voters Education, Rob "Biko" Baker is a nationally recognized leader. He has organized town hall meetings and used social networking to motivate young people to get involved in the civic process. Baker has served as the deputy publicity coordinator and young voter organizer for the Brown and Black Presidential Forum. He has appeared on C-SPAN, Fox News and MSNBC, has interviewed luminaries Cornell West, Russell Simmons, and Howard Dean, and he has also written a number of articles for America's biggest online outlets, including the Huffington Post. Baker is a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA, and serves on the New Organizing Institute's board as well as CIRCLE's research advisory board. Recently, Biko joined the Working American Education Fund Fund Board, and is excited about helping the influential organization lay the ground work for a 21st Century Labor movement.

danah boyd
Plenary Panelist

Dr. danah boyd is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a Research Fellow of the Born This Way Foundation, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. Her research examines the intersection of technology, society, and youth culture. Currently, she's focused on privacy, youth meanness and cruelty, and human trafficking. She co-authored Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. She's working a new book called "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens."

Twitter: @zephoria

Cathy Cohen
Plenary Panelist

Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. Cohen is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1999) and Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press, 2010).  She is co-editor of the anthology Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader (NYU Press, 1997) with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto. Her articles have been published in numerous journals and edited volumes including the American Political Science Review, NOMOS, GLQ, Social Text, and the DuBois Review.  Cohen is also the founder and director of the Black Youth Project and the co-editor of a book series with Fred Harris entitled “Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities.”



Henry Jenkins
Plenary Panelist

Henry Jenkins is the Provost's Professor of Communication Journalism and Cinematic Arts at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Henry Jenkins joined USC from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Peter de Florez Professor in the Humanities. He directed MIT's Comparative Media Studies graduate degree program from 1993-2009, setting an innovative research agenda during a time of fundamental change in communication, journalism and entertainment.As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking web sites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations, and emerging news media outlets.Jenkins has also played a central role in demonstrating the importance of new media technologies in educational settings.  He has worked closely with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to shape a media literacy program designed to explore the effects of participatory media on young people, and reveal potential new pathways for education through emerging digital media. He is Principal Investigator on the Media Activism Participatory Politics project. His most recent books include Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the Literature Classroom (with Wyn Kelley, Katie Clinton, Jenna McWilliams, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and Erin Reilly) and Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Society (with Sam Ford and Joshua Green).

Mark Anthony Neal
Plenary Panelist

Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, where he won the 2010 Robert B. Cox Award for Teaching. Neal has written and lectured extensively on black popular culture, black masculinity, sexism and homophobia in Black communities, the history of popular music, and Black digital humanities.
He is the author of five books, What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (1998), Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic (2002), Songs in the Keys of Black Life: A Rhythm and Blues Nation (2003), New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity (2005) and Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities, which will be published in April of 2013 by New York University Press. Neal is also the co-editor (with Murray Forman) of That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader, 2nd Edition (2011).
Neal hosts the weekly video webcast, Left of Black in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University and is the founder and managing editor of the blog NewBlackMan (in Exile).
You can follow him on Twitter @NewBlackMan.

Astrid Silva
Plenary Panelist

Astrid Silva was born in Durango, Mexico. At the age of four, Astrid immigrated to the United States with her mother, as her father was already in the states with stable employment. When she was five, her family made the move to Nevada, where she has since resided. In 2006 she graduated from the Magnet program at Advanced Technologies Academy. After she found she lacked access to resources and accurate information to navigate the higher education system, she found a college counselor to help, and in 2011, she received her Associate of the Arts from College of Southern Nevada.

In 2009 Astrid began getting more deeply involved in the politics surrounding the DREAM Act after a chance encounter with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. From that moment on, she became the unlikely poster child for the DREAM Act in Nevada, where she was one of only a handful of students in the state to reveal her identity and status in the United States. In 2011, Astrid and a small group of dedicated DREAMers and allies formed DREAM Big Vegas, an organization that aims to educate the community about the DREAM Act. Though DREAM Big Vegas is a young organization, it has received national acclaim for its work with DREAMers in Nevada. After Deferred Action was announced, DREAM Big Vegas helped organize workshops and help for DREAMers who were unable to obtain information through other sources. In the future, Astrid aspires to obtain her Bachelors degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but at present, organizing and helping other students is her highest priority.


Andrew Slack
Plenary Panelist

Andrew Slack co-founded the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA). Under his leadership, the HPA has created over 130 chapters internationally, sent five cargo planes to Haiti, built libraries across the world, and continues to advocate for equality, media reform, and human rights.

USC's Annenberg School of Communications has called Andrew's approach of cultural acupuncture a "premier model for civic engagement for the 21st century."
Andrew is currently taking a leading role in building the Imagine Better Coalition (IBC) which seeks to provide space and support for fan activists from multiple fandoms to work for social change. In addition, the IBC is focusing on writing curriculum that connects popular culture, interdisciplinary fields of knowledge, and civic engagement for connected learning.
At the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Andrew has served as keynote speaker and headlined an event with Mohammad Yunus. He's also given talks at TEDx Rome and TEDx Youth. He's been featured by Fast Company, the front cover of, the New York Times, NPR, Al Jazeera, Austrralia's Today Show, and his work has been applauded by JK Rowling in Time Magazine. Andrew has also written for CNN and the LA Times. 
In his prior career, Andrew performed comedy at hundreds of colleges and produced three videos that have been seen over 12 million times.