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Malcolm Gladwell to Speak at NAFSA 2015 International Education Conference in Boston

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell will deliver the opening plenary address at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. An author of global renown and a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996, Gladwell was recently named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people and a Foreign Policy Top Global Thinker. He will join the three previously confirmed speakers, Shiza Shahid, cofounder and ambassador of the Malala Fund; Tawakkol Karman, Nobel peace laureate; and Ishmael Beah, human rights activist and former child soldier, to inspire the thousands of international educators from more than 100 countries who are expected to attend the conference.

Malcolm Gladwell is a prolific writer having authored five New York Times best sellers including The Tipping Point,Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and most recently, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. He is one of the most celebrated and thought-provoking writers today, and his works provide keen insights into social norms and human behavior.

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. Our world is desperately in need of more understanding and international education provides incredible opportunities for students to develop the skills and habits needed to contribute to greater global understanding,” said Gladwell. “I am excited to address international education professionals who enable opportunities for students and help build tomorrow’s global leaders.”

Born in the United Kingdom to his Jamaican mother and British father, Gladwell moved to Canada as a young child. He attended Trinity College in Toronto and began his career in journalism at The American Spectator in Indiana. In 1987, Gladwell focused his reporting on business and science for The Washington Post until he accepted the position of staff writer at The New Yorker, where his writing explored the connections between research in the social sciences and emerging trends in society.

“Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most provocative writers of our time,” stated NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson. “He inspires and challenges us to think about how the sometimes ordinary patterns in life can have extraordinary outcomes. NAFSA conference attendees will be reminded how we can use our differences to celebrate the importance and impact of international education.”

Gladwell will address the NAFSA conference on May 26, 2015. To learn more about all of NAFSA’s plenary speakers, visit

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