Plenary Speakers

NOSC 2012 welcomes respected speakers and presenters from across the nation.


  • Joseph
  • Ambassador James A. Joseph is director, U.S.-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values and leader in residence in the Hart Leadership Program at Duke University. Joseph was the American ambassador to South Africa during the entire presidency of Nelson Mandella. He served as president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, an international organization of more than 1,900 foundations and corporate giving programs. An ordained minister, he received his divinity degree and has taught at Yale Divinity School. Joseph was born in Opelousas, La., and began his career in the U.S. Army. He taught at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he was a leader of the local civil rights movement. He is the author of two books, The Charitable Impulse and Remaking America. A third book, The Changing Role of Ethics in Public Life, is expected out soon.
  • Kecskes
  • Dr. Kevin Kecskes is an associate professor of public administration at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government in Portland State University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs. He teaches and provides leadership for the undergraduate civil leadership academic program. For over a decade he has provided university-wide leadership as associate vice provost for Engagement and director for Community-University Partnerships, where he was charged with helping campus and community constituents live the university motto: “Let Knowledge Serve the City.” He served as director of service-learning at Washington Campus Compact and as program director of the Western Region Campus Compact Consortium. Kecskes co-founded the Boston College International Volunteer Program and has spent a dozen years working, serving, and studying in the developing world. His recent publications focus on various aspects of the engaged campus.
  • Foster
  • Dr. Kevin Foster is an educational anthropologist and graduate faculty member in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. He directs the Institute for Community, University, and School Partnerships and splits time between campus, the central Texas community, and Washington, D.C. He is the author of many academic and popular publications, including “Taking a Stand: Community-Engaged Scholarship on the Tenure Track” in the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 2010). He is the founder of COBRA (the Community of Brothers in Revolutionary Alliance) and executive producer of Blackademics, a television show that brings black studies scholarship to broader communities. Foster recently completed a year as an Executive Branch policy fellow in Washington and Arlington, Va., where he was assigned to the National Science Foundation.