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SXSW EDU® Announces Michael J. Sorrell Ed. D, President of Paul Quinn College as Second Keynote Speaker
New Featured Speakers and Initial Festival Programming Added to Lineup

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival announced today a broad array of new programming for the 2018 conference and festival including a new keynote speaker, several featured speakers and performances. Dr. Michael Sorrell will deliver a keynote address at the eighth annual conference and festival, joining the previously announced author, researcher and media literacy expert, Dr. danah boyd.

Dr. Sorrell is the longest serving president in the history of Paul Quinn College ( Under his leadership, the school has become nationally acclaimed for its innovative approach to using higher education to address some of society's most pressing problems. PQC's accomplishments during Sorrell's tenure include: winning Historically Black College and University (HBCU) of the Year; becoming the country's first urban work college; transforming the football field into the "WE over Me Farm" which has produced and provided more than 30,000 pounds of organic produce since its inception in March 2010. Sorrell was named one of America's "Ten Most Innovative College Presidents" by the Washington Monthly and is the only two-time recipient of the "HBCU Male President of the Year" award in history.

"President Sorrell's accomplishments in creating a new urban college model with project-based learning at the center is representative of the innovation we seek to highlight at SXSW EDU," said Greg Rosenbaum, general manager of SXSW EDU. "Seeing how he strives to ignite initiative and entrepreneurialism in his students is something to applaud and emulate across the country. We are proud to have him as a keynote speaker for the 2018 SXSW EDU Conference and Festival."

In addition to keynote speakers, SXSW EDU includes a wide variety of featured speakers and new sessions which cover all aspects of learning including:

  • GLOBAL EDUCATION: Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes, founder of Los Patojos community center and school in Guatemala. In 2014 he was named a Top 10 CNN Hero for his unwavering commitment to create change in Guatemala and beyond. His talk, "Changing Guatemala One Dream at a Time," will address his current work opening a new campus that provides a pipeline of workforce development opportunities for his students and to build pathways to dignity and lifelong change for all Guatemalans. (
  • DIGITAL NATIVES: Manoush Zomorodi is an award-winning journalist, published author and host of the podcast, "Note to Self". She will be joined by JP Connolly, director of technology and science teacher at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, New York. Together, they will host a session called, "Human Skills for Digital Natives." (  They will discuss how schools can ensure that today's students are thriving in increasingly digital environments by providing attendees with an interdisciplinary and innovative vision for improved digital health and literacy education. By incorporating neuroscience, behavioral economics and purposeful digital design, this framework will illuminate how we can best help students become healthy and informed citizens, online and off.

In addition to the conference, SXSW EDU also encompasses a unique set of festival elements including competitions, films, exhibitions, and the performance series. This year's ever-popular performance series announces two amazing programs ( First is Arts Corp + Catalyst Change's "Rise Up: Young Leaders Using Art for Change" which is an infusion of theater, poetry, and music that explores the identity of young people of color growing up in America. This performance will take the viewer on an artistic ride reflective of the journey and truths of the youth today. Following the performance, there will be an intergenerational and interactive exploration of how art, media, and technology can be used to create change in the world.

SXSW EDU attendees will also be treated to Paramount Story Wranglers + Austin Theatre Alliance's, "From Page to Stage: Bringing Students' Stories to Life." The Paramount Story Wranglers, part of the Paramount Theatre's Education & Outreach Department, feature an ensemble of teaching artists and professional performers that adapt stories written by local third graders into a sketch comedy, musical, and variety show. The Paramount Story Wranglers transform original narratives from page to stage in a performance of a few popular stories. Afterwards, attendees are invited to join in a hands-on workshop to experience a new and engaging approach to writing instruction that ignites creativity, boosts writing skills, and increases self-efficacy in students.
To learn more about SXSW EDU speakers, please visit the speakers page, at

The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival cultivates and empowers a community of engaged stakeholders to advance teaching and learning. The annual four-day event affords registrants open access to engaging sessions, immersive workshops, interactive learning experiences, film screenings, early-stage startups, business opportunities and networking. SXSW EDU is a component of the South by Southwest® family of conferences and festivals. Join the passionate and innovative community at SXSW EDU, March 5-8, 2018 in Austin, Texas. For more information, please visit

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