Alfre Woodard’s work as an actor has earned her an Oscar nomination, four Emmy Awards and 16 Emmy nominations, three SAG Awards and a Golden Globe. Woodard also enjoys philanthropic work and currently serves on the National Film Preservation Foundation Board, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences International Outreach Committee.

Woodard’s illustrious body of work includes her Oscar nominated performance in Martin Ritt’s Cross Creek; HBO’s Mandela, where she was honored with an ACE award for her portrayal of Winnie Mandela; Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon; John Sayles’ Passion Fish; Joseph Sargent’s Miss Evers’ Boys, for which she won an Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe Award; Spike Lee’s Crooklyn; Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love and Basketball; Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys; Maya Angelou’s Down in the Delta; and played Betty Applewhite on the ABC drama Desperate Housewives.

Most recently, Woodard co-stars in Twelve Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Brad Pitt. In 2012 she co-starred in Lifetime’s hit remake of Steel Magnolias, for which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Primetime Emmy Award and won a NAACP Image Award for her performance as Ouiser and will be reprising her role as Ruby Jean Reynolds, mother to Lafayette Reynolds, on HBO’s megahit True Blood.

In addition to her acting career, Woodard is a longtime activist, currently serving on The Creative Coalition, as well as co-founding “Artists for a New South Africa,” a non-profit working to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, and further the cause of Democracy and Human rights in South Africa. In 2008, Woodard served as a national surrogate for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, and in 2009, was appointed by President Barack Obama to the “President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.”


Dave Fennoy is one of the most sought after voice actors in Los Angeles. He is known for his versatility, providing voices for commercials, narrations, TV promos, award shows, animation and games. Gamers are enjoying his work as Lee Everett, the lead character on The Walking Dead game, which has garnered more than 80 “game of the year” awards, and earned him several nominations and wins as best game character performance. Dave has also played a variety of creatures, characters, warriors, wizards, and weirdos on some of gaming’s biggest titles including Worlds of Warcraft, Worlds of Starcraft, Metal Gear, DOTA, Transformers, Ultimate Spiderman, Delta Force, The Curse Of Monkey Island, and Laura Croft Tomb Raider. The nearly 40 million daily viewers of Hulu have dubbed him “The Hulu Guy”, the omnipresent voice heard before programs. His promo resume includes CBS, ABC, CNN, The WB, Fox, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, MLB Network, The Disney Channel and TV One. Commercial voice credits include Sears, Lexus, McDonalds, Corona Beer, KFC, Toyota, Chrysler, ATT, Louisiana Sea Food, Time Life Music R&B/Gospel, and Southern Company. Narration credits include programs for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and his voice is currently sharing many secrets of the seas on Animal Planet’s WILD DEEP. Film voice credits include The Campaign, Ghost Rider, Happy Feet and Kings Ransom. He has been a regular in numerous cartoon series including Star Wars The Clone Wars, The Lebrons, Kim Possible, Ben 10, Darkwing Duck, New Kids On The Block, Pro Stars, Johnny Quest and Sonic The Hedgehog. Dave has also been the in show announcer for several TV and Award shows, including Late Night with Gregg Kinnear, The Billboard Music Awards, The Teen Choice Awards, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, and this years National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on PBS where his voice introduced President Barack Obama, and for the 15 years was an institution as the in show announcer for The NAACP Image Awards.


Jane GoodallIn July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall Image traveled from England to what is today Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars. But with her unyielding patience and characteristic optimism, she won the trust of these initially shy creatures. She managed to open a window into their sometimes strange and often familiar-seeming lives. The public was fascinated and remains so to this day.

Today, Jane’s work revolves around inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment we all share. The Jane Goodall Institute works to protect the famous chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, but recognizes this can’t be accomplished without a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of local people who are critical to chimpanzee survival. Our community-centered conservation programs in Africa include sustainable development projects that engage local people as true partners. These programs began around Gombe in 1994, but have since been replicated in other parts of the continent. Likewise, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, which Jane started with a group of Tanzania students in 1991, is today the Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program for young people from preschool through university with nearly 150,000 members in more than 120 countries. (– Jane Goodall Institute)


Wangari MaathaiNobel Laureate and Founder, Green Belt Movement. Wangari Maathai was internationally recognized for her persistent struggle in the fight for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. Born in Nyeri, Kenya, Professor Maathai was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. In 1976, as the chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nairobi, Professor Maathai started a tree-planting initiative. Her initiative grew into a broad-based, grassroots organization called the Green Belt Movement, whose main focus is planting trees with women’s groups to both conserve the environment and improve Kenyans’ quality of life dramatically. Since then, the Pan African Green Belt Network has launched similar tree planting initiatives in other African countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. A visiting Fellow at Yale University’s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry, Professor Maathai serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament. Her accomplishments include an appointment as Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife and a presidency of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council.Through the Green Belt Movement, Professor Maathai has assisted in planting more than 20 million trees across Africa, receiving numerous awards, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Professor Maathai passed away in September 2011 and appears in the film courtesy of Common Ground Media and Dirt! The Movie, in which she is extensively featured.


Richard WranghamDr. Richard Wrangham is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University where he has worked since 1989. His major interests are the chimpanzee behavioral ecology, the evolution of violence, the influence of cooking on human evolution, and the conservation of chimpanzees and other apes. He has studied chimpanzees in Uganda since 1987 as director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project (now co-Director with Martin Muller). He received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Cambridge University in 1975, and was a Research Fellow at King’s College (Cambridge) from 1977 to 1980. In 1981 he joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He has authored ~200 publications, including (with Dale Peterson) Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence. He has been Co-Chair, with the late Professor Toshisada Nishida, of the Great Ape World Heritage Species Project, President (2004-2008) of the International Primatological Society, and Patron of UNEP/UNESCO’s Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP). Wrangham was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1987, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most recent book is Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (Basic Books, June 2009)


Alyssa CrittendonDr. Alyssa Crittenden is a Bio-Cultural Anthropologist who has worked with the Hadza since 2004. She was first introduced to the Hadza by Dr. Frank Marlowe, one of her former professors and a fellow Hadza anthropologist, while she was conducting her doctoral research as part of Dr. Marlowe’s Harvard-based research project on nutrition and foraging. Alyssa received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego Department of Anthropology and went on to complete a joint postdoctoral research fellowship with the UCSD Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) and the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine at the UCSD Medical School. She is currently the Lincy Foundation Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Alyssa’s main research foci include the behavioral and nutritional correlates of cooperative breeding, life history theory, children’s foraging and food sharing, the evolution of childhood, the ontogeny of prosocial behavior, and the evolution of the human diet and sexual division of labor. Much of her active research focuses on exploring the evolution of human behaviors as adaptive solutions to the life history demands of reproduction, growth, and development. She is particularly interested in the ways in which ecology influences social behavior within and between human populations – particularly small-scale societies like hunter-gatherers.

Alyssa continues to work with the Hadza, traveling to Lake Eyasi on a nearly annual basis. She is actively engaged in both academic research and community-based Hadza land rights and health care initiatives in Tanzania.


SPENCER WELLS is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of ’56 Professor at Cornell University. He leads The Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet. Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books, The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry and Pandora’s Seed. His fieldwork has taken him to more than 80 countries, where he has worked with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations, to tribal chieftains eking out a precarious living in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Pamela, a filmmaker.


David Banks leads The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect wildlife and wild places in Africa, the cradle of humanity.

David traces his career path from Texas, where he grew up exploring his grandfather’s ranch by foot and on horseback. His roots in nature inspired him to serve others and do his part to leave the world a better place.
As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, David worked with communities to help restore forests in the West African Sahel. He joined the Conservancy in 1994 as an intern in Indiana, where he was finishing his Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Natural Resource Management at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). He went on to lead the organization’s work in Alaska, spending time “in the bush” with wolves and grizzlies and cementing his love of untamed nature. He was named Africa director in 2007.

For David, Africa represents Earth’s last best chance to protect vast landscapes that still function much as they have for millions of years. Twenty years after first discovering the wonders of Africa’s landscape and people, David returned to the continent where he feels most at home. He lives with his wife and two sons in Arusha, Tanzania.


Daudi Peterson grew up in Tanzania and carried out pioneering studies of wildlife distributions in the pastoralist landscape of the Maasai Steppe during the 1970s, before founding Dorobo Safaris with his brothers Mike and Thad in the 1980s. They established the Dorobo Fund for Tanzania, which helped found the Ujamaa-Community Resource Trust in the late 1990s as a way of addressing rural conservation challenges, local livelihoods, and community empowerment in an integrated and grassroots manner. Advocacy for the land rights of Maasai and Datoga pastoralists and Akie and Hadza hunter-gatherers has been core to this work.

Daudi first met the Hadza in the late 1950’s while attending a boarding school on the Iramba plateau located near Hadzaland. His interest in and relationship with the Hadza has not only endured but has become stronger with time.

“The primary purpose of the book Hadzabe: By the Light of a Million Fires is to give expression to the Hadza community’s voice and to provide an accurate portrayal of them as a society and culture including the challenges and struggles they face in order to survive”.

Daudi lives with his wife Trude near Arusha in Tanzania.


Paul ZelezaDr. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is an Historian and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Quinnipiac University. He has taught at universities in the United States, Canada, Kenya, Jamaica, and Malawi, and currently holds the title of Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has also worked as a consultant for the Ford and MacArthur foundations and as an adviser to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. He is a past president of the African Studies Association (2008-2009)–the largest professional association in the world dedicated to the study of Africa and the African Diaspora.Dr. Zeleza earned his B.A. from the University of Malawi and an M.A from the University of London, where he studied African history and international relations. He holds his Ph.D. in economic history from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dr. Zeleza’s academic work has crossed traditional boundaries, ranging from history and economics to human rights and gender studies. He has published scores of articles and authored or edited more than two dozen books, several of which have won international awards including Africa’s most prestigious book prize, theNoma Award for his books A Modern Economic History of Africa and Manufacturing African Studies and Crises. He also edits The Zeleza Post, an online source of news and commentary on the Pan-African world ( His most recent book is titled In Search of African Diasporas: Testimonies and Encounters.


cassandra smCassandra R. Veney received a Master’s degree in African studies from Howard University and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her primary areas of research are the politics of forced migration in East Africa, human rights in Africa, gender and human rights in Africa, US-Africa relations, and US immigration and refugee policies within the context of the war on terror and how they affect African and African descended populations. She is the author of Forced Migration in Eastern Africa: Democratization, Structural Adjustment, and Refugees (Palgrave-MacMillan 2007). Her co-edited books include Women’s Scholarly Publishing in African Studies (Africa World Press (2001) and Leisure in Urban Africa (Africa World Press 2003). She has also published numerous book chapters and scholarly articles on women refugees and internally displaced women in Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, Sudan, the effects of pre 9/11 and post 9/11 policies on African and African descended people in the United States and Africa, and US-Africa foreign relations. She has taught at Illinois State University, The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and she is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University. She teaches course in comparative politics and African politics.


Peter MatthiessenPeter Matthiessen is the only writer who has ever won the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction. His travels as a naturalist and explorer have resulted in more than a dozen books on natural history and the environment, including The Snow Leopard, his first NBA winner. Matthiessen’s equally important career in fiction has produced a collection of stories and eight novels, among them At Play in the Fields of the Lord ( an NBA finalist) and the Everglades trilogy (Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River, and Bone by Bone), which, rewritten and distilled, were published in one volume in 2008 under the title Shadow Country, winner of the NBA in fiction and the 2010 recipient of the William Dean Howells Medal, given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the most distinguished American novel published during the previous five years. (–The Tree Where Man Was Born)