Tim Shriver (Keynote Speaker)
Timothy Shriver is Chairman of Special Olympics and in that capacity, he happily serves together with over 4 million Special Olympics athletes in 170 countries, all working to promote health, education, and a more unified world through the joy of sports. Before joining Special Olympics in 1996, Shriver was and remains a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning. He co-founded and currently chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading school reform organization in the field of social and emotional learning.
Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master’s degree from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He has produced 4 films, written for dozens of newspapers and magazines, founded an ice cream company, and been rewarded with numerous degrees and honors which he didn’t deserve but gratefully accepted on behalf of others. In his new book, Fully Alive-Discovering What Matters Most, Tim shares powerful stories about special athletes who changed his life.
Christopher Duffley is a 13-year-old singing sensation, who is blind and has autism. He entered the world prematurely at 26 weeks, weighing just 1 lb. 12 oz., testing positive for cocaine, and with only a 50% chance of survival. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a disease that affects many premature babies, rendered him totally blind by the time he was 6 months old. Adopted by his biological aunt, Christine, and her husband, Stephen, he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. Defying the odds, Christopher demonstrated surprising musical ability at an early age. With the love and support of his family, his singing career began 3 years ago when a YouTube video of him singing “Open the Eyes of My Heart” went viral. Since then he has traveled far and wide, sharing his talent, his story, and his faith in God through his incredible gift of singing. His first CD, Eyes of My Heart, is a compilation of inspirational, patriotic, and sacred songs, and his second CD will be released in early 2015.