News Releases

SXSW EDU® Announces New Keynote And Additional Speakers For 2019 Conference
-- Paula Kerger, Henry Louis Gates Jr, and Governor Jeb Bush Join as Keynote and Policy Forum Speakers --

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival (March 4-7, 2019) has announced the second keynote conversation with Paula Kerger, President & CEO, PBS, and Henry Louis Gates Jr, Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Founder and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, also joins the program as part of the SXSW EDU Policy Forum.

In their engaging keynote session, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, Paula Kerger and Henry Louis Gates Jr will explore the historical, sociological, and political factors from the Reconstruction era that continue to impact education. Their candid conversation will explore how one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented chapters in American history — the transformative years following the Civil War — still haunts the country, more than 150 years later, and how educators play a role in examining and teaching its implications.

Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation's largest non-commercial media organization with nearly 350-member stations throughout the country. Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. He is also an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker whose latest project is the history series, "Reconstruction: America after the Civil War" (PBS, 2019).

Dedicated to elevating and highlighting policy-focused discussions that impact education on a global scale, the Policy Forum sessions feature a diverse range of legislative voices, community leaders, and advocates, addressing critical issues impacting education. New to the program is Governor Jeb Bush who will participate in a Policy Forum session called Education's Tomorrowland. In this conversation, moderated by the Washington Post's National Education Writer, Laura Meckler, Governor Bush will explore the future of the education system and engage in a conversation about the disruptive policies that can transform today's classroom into tomorrow's ideal laboratory of learning.

Bush is the 43rd governor of the State of Florida, serving from 1999 through 2007. As governor, his top priority was the overhaul of the state's failing education system. Today, Florida remains a national leader in education and is one of the only states in the nation to significantly narrow the achievement gap. Governor Bush maintains his passion for improving the quality of education for students across the country by serving as the Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national nonprofit education reform organization he founded to transform education in America.

"Each of our speakers brings a powerful perspective to the importance of education as a foundation of our society," said Greg Rosenbaum, General Manager of SXSW EDU. "From Reconstruction and the future of learning to the power of language and school safety, this newly announced programming underscores that only at a convening like SXSW EDU can attendees engage in a diverse range of topics with an incredibly passionate group of speakers. We are very proud that 2019 is proving to be an incredible program offering for attendees at SXSW EDU."

Other newly announced Policy Forum sessions include The Importance of Preserving Languages, which includes Ministers of Education discussing the importance of language acquisition and preserving language. Communities need language, it is a vital channel for communication, culture, and socialization. The panel will be comprised of Ana Roca Castro, Genius Plaza; Anthony Anwukah, Federal Ministry of Education for Nigeria; Edward Ssebukyu, Assistant Commissioner at Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Uganda; and Paul Mavima, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Member of Parliament for Gokwe Sengwa Constituency, Zimbabwe.

One of the most relevant and ongoing issues around schools and campuses is school safety. One of the panels addressing this topic is Safer Schools Through Design, which will explore how design can help protect students and discuss the public policy that is needed today to make our schools safer. Speakers on this panel include Jay Brotman, Svigals + Partners; Jim Brewer, American Institute of Architects (AIA); Karina Ruiz, BRIC Architecture; and Stayton Bonner, Conde Nast.

Please click on the links to learn more about the exciting lineup of speakers and the robust programming schedule.

About SXSW EDU (

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 4-7, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

Press Credentials:
Press accreditation for SXSW EDU 2019 is available here. The deadline for press accreditation is February 6, 2019.

Liz Stein, SXSW EDU Press & Publicity