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JANUARY 25–29, 2019                          JANUARY PREVIEW                      AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

Journalist and Author Isha Sesay to Close the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Isha Sesay was born in England and at the age of seven moved with her family to her parents’ homeland of Sierra Leone. At age 16 she moved back to London to pursue her studies and ultimately matriculated to Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read English. After graduating, she joined the BBC Networks as a researcher, then moved to Sky Sports News where she hosted “Good Morning Sports Fans.”

Sesay will close the 2019 Midwinter Meeting on Monday, January 28, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Closing Session

1/28, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
WSCC Ballroom 6 A–B

In 2005, Sesay joined CNN International as an anchor and correspondent covering major breaking news stories and global events. Her impressive roster of interviews includes numerous global leaders, such as the prime ministers of Kenya and Australia as well as the presidents of Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone; a host of newsmakers including Nancy Pelosi, David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, Matt Damon, and Michelle Obama; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Wangari Maathai, Malala Yousafzai, Leymeh Gbowee, and Denis Mukwege.

Sesay played an integral role in CNN U.S. and CNN International’s joint coverage of major events including the protests in Egypt, Japan’s nuclear reactor crisis, the Amanda Knox trial, the fall of Tripoli, and the royal wedding in London. She also reported on the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the death of Nelson Mandela. In 2014, Sesay broke the story of the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram. Her team at CNN was recognized with a Peabody Award for coverage of the story, and Sesay received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor.

In August of 2018, Sesay left CNN to pursue other projects, including her book Beneath the Tamarind Tree, available July 2019. The book is the first definitive account of Boko Haram’s abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls. Having developed unprecedented access to the Chibok girls, Sesay shares an intimate account of the night Boko Haram attacked, exclusive details about their years in captivity, and their daring tales of escape.

Sesay is the founder of W.E. Can Lead (Women Everywhere Can Lead), an organization that supports education and empowers girls in Africa, and ROUSE, a multi-city summit event dedicated to sharing the stories of inspirational African women. She holds a BA honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and she currently lives in Los Angeles.

Sesay’s appearance is sponsored by HarperCollins. Add to your schedule now.

Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo to Speak on Saturday

Auditorium Speaker Series

1/26, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
WSCC Ballroom 6 A–B

Sylvia Acevedo has worn many hats: engineer at IBM, rocket scientist at NASA, award-winning entrepreneur, commissioner on the White House Initiative for Education Excellence for Hispanics, and currently CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. In Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist (Camino a las estrellas: Mi recorrido de Girl Scout a ingeniera astronáutica), Acevedo’s memoir aimed at young readers (available now), retraces her journey from a young girl in an underprivileged New Mexico neighborhood to becoming one of the most accomplished and insightful women in modern history. She tells her story as part of the Auditorium Speakers Series, Saturday, January 26, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

As she struggled with the aftermath of loss, the difficulties of her home life, and the poverty in her neighborhood, the trajectory of her young life changed when she joined a local Brownie troop. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science. With new confidence, Acevedo navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home – forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Acevedo’s absorbing story of overcoming obstacles with confidence, hard work, and education is an inspiration to people of all ages. She continues her work motivating and inspiring children to achieve their dreams.

Acevedo’s appearance is sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Add to your schedule now.

Philanthropist, Author Melinda Gates to Open Midwinter

Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, Melinda Gates has dedicated her life to achieving transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Core to her work is empowering women and girls to help them realize their full potential. She has said, “if you invest in a girl or a woman, you’re investing in everyone else.” The session will take place on Friday, January 25, 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Seattle.

For the last 20 years, Gates’ mission has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. And her journey’s discovery has made one thing undeniably clear – if you want to lift a society up – invest in women.

In April 2019, Gates will debut The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment. The candid and inspiring book traces Gates’ awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. It introduces us to Gates’ heroes in the movement toward equality, offers startling data, and shares some of the moving conversations she’s had with women all over the world. Gates details the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge” change, and she provides simple and effective methods that each of us can use to make a difference.

Opening Session

Friday 1/25, 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.
WSCC Ballroom 6 A–B

After joining Microsoft Corporation in 1987, Gates helped develop many of the company’s multimedia products. In 1996, she left Microsoft to focus on her philanthropic work and family. In 2015, she created Pivotal Ventures, a Seattle-based investment and incubation company to support women-led businesses. In 2017, Gates was named Forbes’ “Third Most Powerful Woman in the World.” She received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Gates’ appearance at the conference is sponsored by Flatiron Books/Macmillan Publishers. Add to your schedule now.


Symposium on the Future of Libraries


ALA President’s Program