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Ta-Nehisi Coates Joins Other Lavin “Geniuses” with a MacArthur Fellowship
Exclusives | September 29, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates Joins Other Lavin “Geniuses” with a MacArthur Fellowship

Today we’re thrilled to report that bestselling author and Atlantic National Correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates has received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship—otherwise known as a “genius” grant. “Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style,” the foundation states, “Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing. He subtly embeds the present—in the form of anecdotes about himself or others—into historical analysis in order to illustrate how the implications of the past are still experienced by people today.” Check out the great video above from the MacArthur Foundation to hear more about Coates’s vital work.

This announcement puts Coates (author of the National Book Award-finalist Between the World and Me) into fine company with a few of our other exclusive speakers—Raj Chetty, Danielle Allen, Bill Strickland, and Dr. Jared Diamond—who’ve also received the same fellowship. These remarkable individuals were awarded for their “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction” (The MacArthur Foundation). Read on to get a sense of what our other Lavin “Geniuses” have to offer as must-see keynote speakers.

Professor of Economics at Stanford, Raj Chetty (awarded in 2012) earned his fellowship for “elucidating key policy issues of our time in theoretical and empirical studies that refine our understanding of the impact of public finance on economic activity.” Chetty is no stranger to awards; he also won the John Bates Clark medal, given by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under the age of 40. Watch the video below for a taste of his work on tax, social welfare, and education policies.



Author of Why Plato Wrote (2010) and Our Declaration (2014) among other books, Danielle Allen (awarded in 2001) earned her MacArthur Fellowship as “a political theorist whose work spans the fields of classics, philosophy, and political theory, providing important perspectives on contemporary issues of race and politics.” Today, Allen continues to explore America’s founding document and its continuing relevance. A bold, incisive speaker, Allen challenges us to look beyond what we think we know.

Bill Strickland (awarded in 1996) is “a community organizer who is the creator and director of programs in job training and the arts.” He is also president and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation—an extraordinary jobs training center and community arts program—where he and his staff work with corporations, community leaders, and schools to give disadvantaged kids and adults the opportunities they need to build a better future. Always gracious, Strickland delivers a profoundly simple, optimistic message for leaders: give people the tools they need, treat them with respect, and they will perform miraculous deeds.

Dr. Jared Diamond (awarded in 1985) is a celebrity scientist, environmental historian, professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel, and biologist “working in the fields of biogeography, evolutionary ecology, and integrative physiology.” A captivating speaker on human rights, traditional societies, the role of business in environmental preservation, and many other issues, Dr. Diamond is one of the most influential thinkers of our time.

To hire Ta-Nehisi Coates, Raj Chetty, Danielle Allen, Bill Strickland, or Dr. Jared Diamond as the keynote speaker of your next event, contact The Lavin agency speakers bureau.
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