African-American Youth Convene Global Conference on Civic Leadership

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Ron Brown Scholar Program, the nation's leading scholarship program for African-American youth, will convene a leadership conference in Charlottesville next week, sponsored by Verizon Business, to help propel African-American youth nationwide into global leadership positions.

The 2008 Triennial Leadership Conference - Local Service, Global Change - is set for August 6 - 10 and will bring together nearly 240 Ron Brown Scholars and leading minds from the public and private sectors to help accelerate the entry of young African-Americans into civic leadership and further enhance opportunities in fields including public policy, media, health care, education and business.

"This conference is about seeking out and cultivating America's next black leaders," said Anthony Pilaro, founder of the Ron Brown Scholar Program and chairman of the CAP Charitable Foundation. "This is the fourth conference of its kind, created to bring young people together to demonstrate that through unity and cooperation any social challenge can be overcome."

Pilaro will also serve as keynote speaker at the conference, addressing the role philanthropic organizations play in advancing academic opportunities for African-American youth. Previous conferences have addressed topics covering corporate citizenship, public health, and urban renewal, among others.

Verizon Business joins the Ron Brown Scholar program in this mission by serving as title sponsor for the Leadership Conference.  "At Verizon Business, we embrace the theme of this year's conference as a way of doing business," said Terri Dean, senior vice president of global communications at Verizon Business and chairman of the Ron Brown Scholar Program Advisory Board. "We are a global player, but we never forget that innovation and progress always start locally. This conference will foster an important dialogue among the world's next generation of leaders, who will confront the growing challenges of our global community."

In addition to Pilaro and Dean, the Leadership Conference will feature several other prominent speakers who will stress the importance of service as a requirement of leadership. Other speakers include: Tom Werner, chairman of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and creator of "The Cosby Show"; Diana Dougan, former U.S. ambassador; Wendy Kopp, president of Teach for America; and Marva Smalls, executive vice president for public affairs for Nickelodeon.

Michael Mallory, executive director of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, said: "The Ron Brown Scholar Program Leadership Conference is a catalyst for our efforts to bring more young people together and challenge them to solve national and international problems by serving as leaders in their own communities. We are also thrilled to have Verizon Business on board and applaud their passion for helping youth around the country excel academically so they may in turn help others succeed."

In addition to keynote speakers, a series of panel discussions will take place over the five days highlighting a variety of social topics ranging from "New Orleans: A Prophetic City" to "U.S. Foreign Policy - Power Shift." The conference will be capped off with a special presentation by Werner, the Boston Red Sox chairman. A special benefit performance will follow featuring two Ron Brown Scholars: playwright Katori Hall and R&B singer/songwriter Sparlha Swa. The event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased by visiting www.theparamount.net or contacting the Paramount Box Office at 434-979-1333.

Additional information on the Ron Brown Scholar Program Leadership Conference and biographies of the speakers are available at www.ronbrown.org.

About the Ron Brown Scholar Program
Named for the late Secretary of Commerce and inspired by his dedication to public service, the Ron Brown Scholar Program was established in 1996 to provide academic scholarships, service opportunities and leadership experiences for young African Americans of outstanding promise.  The Program seeks to accelerate their progress into the mainstream of leadership positions in business, education, government and a wide spectrum of professions, while instilling a dedication to leadership and service.

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), operates the world's most connected public IP network and uses its industry-leading global-network capabilities to offer large-business and government information technology (IT) products and services to deliver leading enterprise solutions including managed services, security, mobility customers an unmatched combination of security, reliability and speed.  The company integrates advanced IP communications and, collaboration and professional services.  These solutions power innovation and enable the company's customers to do business better. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.