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Kweisi  Mfume

Kweisi Mfume

Political & Business Leader

Biography

Kweisi Mfume (pronounced Kwah-EE-see Oom-FOO-may), was born, raised and educated in the city of Baltimore and it was there that he followed his dreams to impact society and to help shape public policy. He attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland where he was an honors student, graduating magna cum laude. He later returned there to join the staff as an adjunct professor teaching courses in Political Science and Communications. He was recently voted the University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year. Read More >

As Mfume’s community involvement grew, so did his experience as an activist, radio commentator, administrator, and TV personality. By the age of thirty-one he had won his first election to the Baltimore City Council.

During his seven years of service in local government, he chaired the City Council’s Committee on Health Policy and led the efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance business development and divest city funds from the then apartheid government of South Africa.

He later enrolled in and was graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 1984, earning a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in International Studies.

At the age of thirty-eight, he was decisively elected to the United States Congress, a seat that he was to hold for the next decade during the terms of Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Mfume was active with a broad array of committee obligations. He served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee and held the ranking seat on the General Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He also served as a member of the Committee on Education and helped to impact commerce and industry matters as a senior member of the Small Business Committee.

While in his third term, he was chosen by the Speaker of the House to serve on the Ethics Committee and the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate where he was later elected Chairman. Congressman Mfume consistently advocated landmark business and civil rights legislation.

He successfully co-sponsored and helped to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, strengthened the Equal Credit Opportunity Law and co-authored and successfully amended the Civil Rights Bill of 1991 to apply its provisions to U.S. citizens working for American-based companies abroad. He also sponsored legislative initiatives banning assault weapons and establishing stalking as a federal crime.

Congressman Mfume served as both Vice-Chair and later Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was regularly designated to preside as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives; during his fifth term in office, he was appointed by the Congressional Democratic Caucus as Vice-Chairman for Communications.

Kweisi Mfume left his Congressional seat to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP in February of 1996 after being unanimously elected to the post and served there for nine years. During that time he significantly raised the national profile of the NAACP while helping to restore its prominence among the nation’s civil rights organizations.

He is widely credited with helping to raise over 90 million dollars in outside contributions for the organization while at the same time creating its national Corporate Diversity Project, developing Television Diversity Agreements with NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox, and establishing 75 new college-based NAACP chapters across the nation. His program to increase the organization’s relevance included civil rights enforcement, economic empowerment, educational excellence, workforce diversity, affordable healthcare and youth outreach.

In 2003, he helped negotiate for and successfully secured the NAACP’s official United Nations’ Status as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) within that world body with all of the rights and privileges thereto and pertaining.

Kweisi Mfume was formerly a member of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, People for the American Way, the Meyerhof Scholars Advisory Board of the University of Maryland, the Senior Advisory Committee of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, the African American Advisory Board of PepsiCo, the American Society of Association Executives, the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Maryland.

Mfume was an original member of the Continuity of Government Commission funded by the Carnegie, Hewlett-Packard, and MacArthur foundations. The Commission was created to study and recommend reforms related to Presidential and Congressional succession in a time of national catastrophic crisis or in the event of a terrorist attack.

In 2008, he traveled the country and served as a national surrogate speaker for the “Obama for America” Presidential campaign.

In 2010, he completed 12 years of service as a member of the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees and he has been twice named “Marylander of the Year” by both the Baltimore Sun newspaper and Maryland Magazine respectively.

In 2010 and 2011, he served as Executive Director of the National Medical Association (NMA). Founded in 1908 to advance the art and science of medicine, the NMA is the nation’s oldest African American Medical Association promoting the collective interests of physicians and patients throughout the U.S.

In 2011, he functioned as a corporate business consultant to AT&T of North America. A year later he was appointed by the DNC to the Platform Committee of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

After having been appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services he concluded four years of federal service in 2014 as a member on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda.

Mfume is currently leading a team of researchers developing ways to close the gaps between policy and science to reduce health disparities as the Principle Investigator for the Health Policy Research Consortium. He also serves as Chief Health Equity Officer for Capital Technologies Information Systems, a Health Informatics Company.

Presently he is a member of Executive Committee of the Governing Board of Research America, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Gamma Boulé Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the Order of the Prince Hall Masons, the Association of Former Members of Congress and presently serves as Chairman of the Morgan State University Board of Regents.

For the last fifteen years, he has lectured at scores of colleges, universities, corporations, medical and bar associations across the country on the subjects of corporate diversity, compliance, health policy, disparities in health care, tolerance and the new challenges of gender and race.

His background in broadcasting includes twenty years in radio and television. For three years, he hosted the nationally syndicated and NBC/Hearst TV special The Remarkable Journey.

He is the recipient of the NAACP Image Award and the 2005 Telly Award for the Television documentary Ticket to Freedom. Oratorically he has twice performed in concert with opera soprano Kathleen Battle, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

He has made appearances as a guest commentator on the ABC This Week Program and has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, The O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, Nightline, and countless other news and public affairs programs on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and PBS. He remains a constant advocate for bi-partisan political cooperation on social, economic and national security issues.

Kweisi Mfume is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees conferred by the University of Maryland, Brandeis University, Loyola, Washington College, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, Morgan State University, Morehouse College, Maryland Institute of Art, Sojourner Douglass College and The University of the Virgin Islands.

He has been honored with hundreds of other awards, proclamations and citations. His former bestselling autobiography published by Ballantine Books (Random House) New York, NY is entitled No Free Ride. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Race Debate

Getting Beyond Blame and Excuses Toward Unity

Speech Topics

Gender, Race & Public Opinion in 2009 & Beyond

In this insightful presentation, Mfume looks at how American demographics and the Obama presidency have coalesced to permanently reshape both the discussion and the approach to gender, race, and public policy. Why has a new paradigm formed around these issues in particular and what are the implications for government, businesses, unions, and private sector organizations?

Tolerance Has Become a Dirty Word

The plague of prejudice has resurfaced in America – one of great abandon, intolerance and insensitivity, and one that Mfume says has made America ugly.  We have become a country that hates too much and loves too little.  Whether it is the repugnant act of burning a church, desecrating a synagogue, acts of violence against minorities or movements against certain immigrants simply because they can’t speak like us, he believes prejudice, which people learn at a young age, is a fear of something unusual or different from ourselves.  In the end, it imprisons us. Read More >

A believer that education is the key to society’s freedom, Mfume urges audiences to find ways to bolster common sense from the educational bottom up.  By granting young people the cognitive ability to think for themselves, he says, they will discern right from wrong, that the world is not always as it seems, that there are different perspectives and different people, and that the global community should be one in which we all interact. Read Less ^

Healthcare Disparities

Mfume, a former congressman and chairman of the NAACP, was recently named the new executive leader of the National Medical Association. While working for the NAACP, he gained an in-depth understanding of the healthcare delivery system and the devastating effects such disparities have on the lives of American families, and plans to apply that knowledge to his new role. Read More >

"I have dedicated my life to ending the economic and social barriers that continue to confront people of color all across our nation," Mfume stated. "The National Medical Association has been the conscience of the medical profession by making sure that African Americans and the underserved have a voice in their health and healthcare." He continued, "We have a long way to go to truly eliminate health disparities, but now is the time to work with political, medical and community leaders to make that vision real."

This highly educational keynote presentation outlines Mfume's observation of these disparities and his plan to bring about their elimination. Read Less ^

Obama's America… Where Do We Go from Here?

Coalition Politics in the Making of a Black President

Racism, Sexism & Anti-Semitism (Old Wine in New Bottles)

Race, Leadership, Faith & Philosophy: Why Jesus Was a Revolutionary

Benefiting from Corporate Diversity (Making Multiculturalism Work)

Corporate Diversity for Repositioning & Productivity Blacks, Whites & Latinos - A Conversation Before Crisis

335 Days: Black History Beyond February

Connect with Kweisi Mfume