Keynote Speaker

KEYNOTE SPEAKER – Thursday, May 30, 5:30 p.m.


EdelmanPeter Edelman, LL.B. A lawyer, policy maker, and law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, specializing in the fields of poverty, welfare, juvenile justice, and constitutional law. Professor Edelman has been Associate Dean of the Law Center, Director of the New York State Division for Youth, and Vice President of the University of Massachusetts. He was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and was Issues Director for Senator Edward Kennedy’s Presidential campaign in 1980. Earlier, he was a Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and before that to Judge Henry J. Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General John Douglas.

Professor Edelman’s most recent book, So Rich So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America, was published by The New Press in May 2012. He previously wrote Searching for America’s Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope, which was published by Houghton-Mifflin in January 2001. He also co-authored Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men, which was published by the Urban Institute in 2006, and is the author of many articles on poverty, constitutional law, and issues about children and youth. His article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled, “The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done” received the Harry Chapin Media Award.

Peter Edelman is currently chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission, board chair of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, Public Welfare Foundation and the National Center for Youth Law, board president emeritus of the New Israel Fund, and a board member of the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and a half dozen other nonprofit organizations.


Professor Edelman grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, and has been a United States-Japan Leadership Program Fellow and the J. Skelly Wright Memorial Fellow at Yale Law School. He is married to Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.