Loretta Lynch
“We will be asking what the 'American' in American Dream means and how we can better collaborate on a shared vision for the future.” Ali Malekzadeh President, Roosevelt University

Leaders from all walks of life will gather to discuss citizenship, immigration and the ever-changing American identity as Roosevelt University presents its 4th annual American Dream conference on Sept. 9-13.

This year’s event will include a conversation on polarized politics and the future of nonpartisan leadership on Monday, Sept. 9.

Started in 2016 by Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, the annual conference is themed this year on citizenship and immigration and will explore the degree to which our political, economic and social structures restrict who is able to pursue the American Dream.

“The American Dream is supposed to be about achievement, but frequently many are finding themselves left behind,” said Malekzadeh, who will preside over the conference that routinely draws full-house attendance.

“We have invited experts, activists and members of our community to consider whether our politics are preventing some people – including Dreamers and Millennials – from attaining a better future. We will be asking what the “American” in American Dream means and how we can better collaborate on a shared vision for the future,” he said.

Conference highlights include:

  • "Nonpartisan Leadership in Difficult Times” with Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, noted author, colorful commentator and founder and president of Economic Education. She will speak at 7 p.m. in Roosevelt’s seventh-floor Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.  Roosevelt University's Endowed Arthur Rubloff Professor of Public Policy will moderate.
  • “Listening to Community Voices,” a discussion by prominent community partners on ways to promote quality of life and vibrancy in struggling Chicago neighborhoods.  Panelists will include representatives from Team Englewood, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.  The event will be at noon Thursday, Sept. 12 in Roosevelt’s second-floor Ida B. Wells Lounge, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
  • “Mansfield Institute Lecture: Behold the Dreamers” with New York Times bestselling author Imbolo Mbue, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for the novel and Oprah Book Club selection “Behold the Dreamers,” which is about marriage, immigration, class, race and trapdoors of the American Dream.  The lecture will be at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 in Roosevelt’s Goodman Center, 501 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago.
  • Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Lecture with Kelly Clements, the United Nations deputy high commissioner for refugees, who will be discussing the state of the global refugee crisis and how best to confront it. Roosevelt’s Center for New Deal Studies Lecture will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 in the University’s Ganz Hall. 

Other guest speakers at the weeklong conference include: Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin; Erika N.L.Harold, who was the GOP candidate for Illinois Attorney General in 2018; and bestselling author and voting rights expert David Daley. For a complete list of conference sessions, including dates, times and speakers, and/or to register for the conference visit the conference website.

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