Youth Voices: What Do Young Adults Think? with discussants Antonio Ramirez, Natalia Diaz and Carleen Joseph speaking at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival. Anna Deavere Smith moderates.
Some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers and other leaders drawn from myriad fields and from across the country and around the world all gathered in a single place - to teach, speak, lead, question, and answer at the 2006 Aspen Ideas Festival. Throughout the week, they all interacted with an audience of thoughtful people who stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought, and discussion.
Carleen Joseph is program director for the Aspen Youth Experience (AYE), an Aspen organization that empowers at-risk teens and young adults from across the US to achieve their potential by providing transforming experiences and continuous follow-up support. As program director, Joseph leads these youth in personal-growth sessions and challenging outdoor experiences, encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone and imagine a future far beyond their previously limited beliefs. After more than three years of her childhood being neglected and abused, Joseph was taken into the care of Social Services, where she spent five years in care, in four group homes and two foster homes. After attending a workshop at the first International Child & Youth Care Conference in Vancouver, Joseph became one of seven youth in Canada to create the National Youth in Care Network (NYICN). She continues to contribute to the NYICN as a member of the Ken Dryden Scholarship Committee. Joseph received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Concordia University and a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology from McGill University. She has served as a school counselor in two Washington, DC, charter schools.
Antonio Ramirez is a YouthBuild graduate leader based in Rockford, Illinois. He joined YouthBuild to gain construction skills but quickly found opportunities to develop other interests especially the community service helping youth. After completing YouthBuild, Ramirez joined the program staff as alumni coordinator and completed the YouthBuild USA Youth Development Practitioner Apprenticeship certificate program. He has been a youth advocate and mentor to students at his YouthBuild program, an active member of the Illinois State YouthBuild Coalition, president of YouthBuild USAâ€™s National Alumni Council, and vice president of his community collegeâ€™s Association of Latin American Students. This spring, Ramirez graduated from Rock Valley College, where he served as commencement speaker, with an associateâ€™s degree in Human Services. He plans to run for public office.
Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright who is said to have created a new theater form. She is a University Professor at New York University and founding director of Anna Deavere Smith Works, which supports artists from around the world whose work addresses issues of social justice. Smith has been honored with many prizes, including a MacArthur fellowship and two Tony nominations. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires in the Mirror. Her most recent one-person show, Let Me Down Easy, toured the US and was broadcast on PBS’s “Great Performances.” She has had roles on popular television shows, including Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and NBC’s “The West Wing,” and in feature films, including The American President and Philadelphia. She is a trustee of the Aspen Institute.