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Omekongo Dibinga is an international speaker delivering keynotes on inclusion, diversity, equity, and leadership

Omékongo Dibinga, PhD, CSP

Transformitive combination of poetry & leadership expertise

Kate Holgate has completed more CSP applications than anyone on earth

Meet Omékongo ...

Dr. Omékongo Dibinga, known as the UPstander, is on a mission to inspire people worldwide to take a stand against injustice, no matter how big or small. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker, trilingual poet, TV talk show and podcast host, rapper, and professor of Intercultural Communication at American University. Additionally, he is a faculty affiliate of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center. Nikki Giovanni describes his award-winning work as “outstanding, exciting, and new while being very old,” and Essence Magazine praises his book, “From the Limbs of My Poetree,” as “a remarkable and insightful collection of exquisite poetry that touches sacred places within your spirit.”

Dr. Dibinga has gained a significant following through his appearances in O Magazine, as well as on CNN, BET, BBC, NPR, and other major media outlets. His performances and writings have reached millions of homes in over 150 countries. He has even written songs for major motion pictures and organizations like NASA and the Enough! Project.

As a speaker, Dr. Dibinga has addressed the United Nations and conducted leadership training overseas in partnership with the State Department. He delivers powerful talks on leadership, antiracism, diversity, and inclusion to corporate, government, and educational organizations across the country.

Dr. Dibinga’s educational background includes studies at prestigious institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Georgetown, Morehouse, and The Fletcher School. He holds an M.A. in Law & Diplomacy from The Fletcher School and a Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland. His doctoral dissertation focused on the global hip-hop phenomenon and JAY-Z, and he is currently working on a book based on this research.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Dibinga has contributed to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Diverse Students Initiative” and has worked with school districts nationwide on culturally relevant instruction. He also served as the lead Teaching Assistant to Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at Georgetown University for four years. As a consultant and motivational speaker, he empowers organizations, associations, and institutions with his leadership, educational, and diversity expertise.

Dr. Dibinga’s impact extends beyond speaking engagements. He has lectured at renowned venues such as TEDx, Harvard, Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit, and the Nuyorican Poets Café. Through his 1,000,000 Youth Campaign, he has directly influenced over 750,000 young people worldwide. He has also partnered with Intel on their campaign to ensure their computer processors are free of minerals sourced from the conflict in the Congo.

With 7 published books, 8 fusion music and motivational CDs, and an independent DVD, Dr. Dibinga’s creativity always leans toward making the world better. His motivational book, G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness! 10 Steps to Living Your Best Life, has received praise from renowned speakers like Les Brown and Willie Jolley. His book, The UPstander’s Guide to an Outstanding Life, is a valuable resource for students seeking life balance. Lastly, his most recent book, Lies about Black People: How to Combat Racist Stereotypes and Why it Matters, features a foreword by Michael Eric Dyson and is written for all races.


Omékongo has been a part of the AFS Family for many years, taking a break for a few years during the time Kate was dealing with an ongoing family emergency and while he was pursuing his PhD. He returned as one of our full-time speakers in early 2023.  Kate’s passion is to be a part of making the world a better place and Omékongo certainly helps her fulfil that desire.  He has changed the lives of countless students from lower school to upper school to university.

American Association of School Librarians – AASL
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
Fidelity Investments
Florida Association for Media in Education
Food and Drug Administration – FDA
Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents
National Association of Independent Schools
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Student Council ConferenceNational Black Catholic Congress
National Youth Leadership Council
PriceWaterhouseCoopers – PWC
Prudential Investment Management Services
Raymond James
Synchrony Financial
United States Department of Agriculture – USDA
US Department of State
World Bank


“To all my Diversity & Inclusion, HR professionals and meeting planner contacts, do not miss the opportunity to put Dr. Omékongo Dibinga on the stage at your next event!  I could not recommend more highly!”

“Your keynote, presentation, Finding Common Ground in Uncommon Times, received rave reviews. MD SHRM can’t thank you enough for the meaningful and informative contribution you made. Recognizing how we can shine in a polarized society was so refreshing and rewarding. The insight and tools you shared were priceless.” – Because education, performing arts, and youth are so important to Omékongo,

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Speaker Topics

Finding Common Ground in Uncommon Times

This keynote/breakout session aims to help participants discover commonalities rather than differences, fostering unity in an increasingly polarized society. Even during challenging times, there are opportunities for everyone to excel. Attendees will acquire skills in navigating difficult conversations, challenging implicit biases, and creating inclusive communities that embrace and celebrate diversity.

G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness!

In this engaging keynote/breakout session, you will discover the essential strategies to overcome setbacks, whether they are personal or professional. Through interactive activities, participants will explore the root causes of their setbacks and follow a comprehensive 4-step reinvention roadmap to maintain focus and adaptability in the face of new challenges. Remember, the saying goes, "Expand or be expendable," so join us and learn how to expand and G.R.O.W. towards your own greatness!

Leveraging and Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

Unlock the potential of cultural diversity and appreciation in corporate and government settings. Discover the research-backed benefits of fostering diversity in the workplace, including increased productivity and profitability. This engaging keynote/breakout session delves into the obstacles that hinder inclusivity and offers practical strategies for creating an inclusive work environment. By confronting issues of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and more, participants will gain the confidence to initiate meaningful conversations and drive positive change within their organizations.

Be an UPstander, Not a BYstander

Elevate your understanding of social change through the power of spoken word poetry and hip-hop in this captivating keynote/breakout session. Discover how participants can cultivate cultural self-confidence and foster respect for diverse cultural, religious, and racial groups through critical analysis. Uncover the underlying factors that contribute to misconceptions and challenge cultural paradigms to promote a deeper appreciation for differences. Empowered by this transformative experience, participants will be inspired to drive change not only in their personal lives but also in their communities and on a global scale.

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