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Anna Deavere Smith Keynote Speaker

Anna Deavere Smith

Actress, Teacher, Author
Anna Deavere Smith is a talented actress most well-known for her roles on high-profile television dramas 'The West Wing' and 'Nurse Jackie.' She has also appeared in several films, notably the popular musical 'Rent' and the Anne Hathway drama 'Rachel Getting Married.' Smith began her career in theater, snagging roles in productions such as Shakespeare's 'Merry Wives of Windsor.' Smith also starred in many solo shows, such as 'Fires in the Mirror' and 'Twilight: Los Angeles,' which garnered attention for their unconventional style; both of these plays were written via material collected from interviews. Her latest work is entitled 'Let Me Down Easy.'

Smith serves as an artist in residence for both the Center for American Progress and Grace Cathedral. She currently teaches at Tisch School of the arts at NYU and NYU school of law; she has previously taught at Stanford University. She founded the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue and serves as its director.

Smith is also an established author, having published 'Talk to me: Travels in Media and Politics' and 'Letters to a Young Artist.' Throughout her illustrious career, Smith has earned several Tony awards, two Obies and a the MacArthur Genius Grant.