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Keynote Speaker

We are proud to announce that VMUN 2015’s speaker will be Amanda Lindhout! Read all about her story in the following biography:


In 2008, Amanda Lindhout traveled to Somalia as a freelance journalist to research a story on the millions of people affected by two decades of war, drought, and famine. Kidnapped by teenage criminals outside of the capital city, Mogadishu, Amanda spent 460 days enduring unimaginable hardships as a hostage in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Following her release in November 2009, she became an unlikely and passionate advocate for the people of Somalia. Four months after returning home, Amanda founded the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF) to ignite leadership in Somalia through education and economic initiatives which the GEF creates, funds and implements. Since the GEF’s inception, Amanda has raised millions of dollars to support development and aid in the war-torn country reaching over 300,000 people. She captured international headlines again when she returned to Somalia to lead famine relief efforts in 2011.

Amanda advises international governments, global leaders, non-profit organizations, and policy makers on the importance of using education to counter the radicalization of youth and provide insight into the interrelated issues of poverty and violence against women. Her work has attracted the likes of President Bill Clinton who invited her to speak in Washington about her organization’s work.

Amanda has been featured in publications including Vogue’s September Issue, O Magazine, Elle, The New York Times Magazine, and The Globe and Mail. She has also appeared on Dateline NBC, The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, Sanjay Gupta MD, NBC Nightly News, BBC, MSNBC, CBC’s The National, Radio Canada International, and a variety of other TV and radio programs both domestic and international.

Amanda’s memoir, A House In The Sky, is a New York Times bestseller and is slated for development as a major motion picture with Annapurna Pictures. Oscar-nominated actress Rooney Mara is set to produce and star in the film.

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