St. Thomas, VI (PRWEB) February 02, 2013
World-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., will be the keynote speaker at the University of the Virgin Islands’ third-annual “Man-Up” Male Empowerment Conference. The conference is scheduled for Feb. 4, at UVI’s Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas, and Feb. 5, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. This year’s theme is: “Man-Up: Discovering Your Gifts and Talents.”
The “Man-Up” Conference was started in 2011 in response to rising cases of violence in the Virgin Islands and the low enrollment rate of young men in higher education. It is an initiative of “Brothers with a Cause,” a UVI program that seeks to attract more male students to the University and provide tools and support to help them graduate. “The ‘Man-Up’ conference is an opportunity to reach young men in the territory,” said Dr. Haldane Davies, special assistant to UVI President Dr. David Hall. He noted that it provides young men with options to advance in life and be productive citizens in the community.
“Dr. Carson is the embodiment of the ‘Man-Up’ Conference’s theme, ‘Man-Up: Discovering Your Gifts and Talents,'” said Dr. Davies. “He had the opportunity to turn his life around and now is a gifted surgeon able to help and heal people. This conference will give young men in this community the opportunity to hear from and speak with a world-renowned surgeon, who serves as a positive role model.”
In his youth, Dr. Carson struggled with poverty, low grades, a horrible temper and a low self-esteem, but it was his mother, who only had a third grade education, who encouraged him to strive for excellence. Today, Dr. Carson is a celebrated surgeon and a pioneer in his field. His autobiography “Gifted Hands” became a TNT original movie starring Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Kimberly Elise. Dr. Carson is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for more than 25 years.
In 1987, Dr. Carson received global acclaim when he became the first surgeon to successfully separate craniopagus twins – twins connected at the back of their heads.
In 2008, Dr. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the U.S. Dr. Carson has also been named by CNN and TIME magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists, and by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends.” He is also the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Dr. Carson holds more than 60 honorary doctoral degrees and has received hundreds of awards and citations. He sits on the board of directors of numerous organizations.
Also selected to speak at the conference are professor, author and director M.K. Asante, Jr. and Mothers Against Guns (MAG) Executive Director Celia Carroll.
The author of four celebrated books, Asante, is a recipient of the Langston Hughes Award. His latest book, “It's Bigger Than Hip Hop,” was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "An empowering book that moves you to action and to question status quo America." Asante also directed “The Black Candle,” a Starz original movie that he co-wrote with poet and author Maya Angelou, who narrates the prize-winning film.
Months after her son Jason Carroll was gunned down in a daylight shooting on Main Street in 2000, Celia Carroll started the St. Thomas V.I. chapter of Mothers Against Guns and has since been actively engaged in activities that promote the value of life and speak against gun violence in the Virgin Islands.
The conference will also feature performances by Virgin Islands and internationally known recording artist, Iyaz, Wally Kyat and Pressure. Iyaz, born Keidran Jones, recorded his first studio single, “My Life” in 2010. His song "Replay" peaked at number two on Billboard Hot 200 and in the United Kingdom it ruled the country’s singles chart.
St. Thomas native Pressure, born Delyno Brown, became internationally recognized with his debut solo album “The Pressure Is On” in 2005. His newest album, “Africa Redemption” will be released in February.
Wally Kyat, born Omari George, became one of the most requested artists on V.I. radio with his first recording “From the V.I.” in 2010. The thought-provoking anti-violence song chronicled one of the most murderous times in the V.I.
The conference will feature a student talent segment. Other entertainment includes the Ivanna Eudora Kean, Charlotte Amalie, Central, and Educational Complex High Schools marching bands.
More information is available from the Male Initiative home page at http://www.uvi.edu/sites/uvi/Pages/President-male_initiative.aspx?s=CS or by calling the Office of the President. The conference is sponsored by the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Department of Education and the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services.
For more information about the “Man-Up” Male Empowerment Conference, call (340) 693-1000.