Mawi Asgedom was the keynote motivational speaker for the April 19, 2008 ECA program at the John J. Pershing West Magnet School in Chicago, Illinois.
Mawi Asgedom has written four books that are used in thousands of classrooms across North America and spoken to over 500,000 students and educators. A nationally recognized youth educator, Mawi is the founder of Mental Karate, a training organization that challenges youth to create their own inspiring journeys.
As a child, Mawi fled civil war in Ethiopia and survived a Sudanese refugee camp for three years. After being resettled in The United States, Mawi overcame welfare, language barriers and personal tragedy to graduate from Harvard University.
Since 1999, Mawi has dedicated himself to uplifting America’s teenagers. Mawi’s bestselling memoir, Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard, has been read as a one-book, one-community reading selection by hundreds of schools and communities including the cities of Philadelphia and Green Bay. His teen-success guides, The Code, Win the Inner Battle, and Nothing is Impossible, have also been used in thousands of classrooms. Citing the impact of his work, The Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Mawi the 2006 Illinois Author of the Year.
Mawi has hosted a yearlong teen series on PBS Chicago and many prominent media outlets have featured him including:
- The Oprah Winfrey Show
- ESSENCE, one of “The 40 Most Inspiring African-Americans”
- Ebony, one of “30 Black Leaders Under 30″
- Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Harvard Magazine