Journalist Farai Chideya at IBL April 17 Symposium

TAMPA, Fla. (March 30, 2009) – The University of South Florida Institute on Black Life’s (IBL) annual symposium will be held April 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with keynote speaker, journalist and author Farai Chideya, and panels of local leaders to examine the implications of President Barack Obama’s election and community empowerment.  The symposium, “The Role and the Road to Leadership in the 21st Century,” will be held at the Embassy Suites, 3707 Spectrum Blvd., on USF’s Tampa campus. The registration charge of $10 includes lunch.


Invited speakers include Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, the former mayor of Winter Haven, Ann Darby, the Honorable Judge Lisa Campbell, Henry Bell, Paulette Walker, Candy Lowe, Otis Anthony, Rev. Bartholomew Banks, Glenton Gilzean, Jr., Reginald Eldridge, Rayshana Black, Ted Williams and others.


“The election of President Barack Obama has ushered in a new era of leadership that suggests every individual can be an agent of change,” said IBL Director Cheryl Rodriguez, associate professor of Africana studies.  “With the slogan, ‘Yes, we can,’ candidate Obama implored a global community to take responsibility for the social, economic and political transformations we seek.  Mr. Obama’s election underscores the power of citizens organized and united by a common hope.”


This symposium will bring together a diverse group of visionary thinkers who address issues relevant to local, national and global leadership. IBL will also recognize and honor local grassroots organizations that demonstrate daily leadership in serving the community. 


“We are very excited to hear what Farai Chideya has to say about the potential impact of this new moment in American democracy and in particular, the ways in which local actions can lead to global transformations,” said Rodriguez.  “Our panels will discuss what they consider to be important in developing a strong cadre of leaders for the 21st century.  We expect people from all walks of life in the Tampa Bay community to come together to gather this powerful information and use it.”


For more information, call (813) 974-9387 and RSVP by April 10 to

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.