Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole Receives the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award at Smithsonian Event

The Smithsonian Associates and the Creativity Foundation have named Johnnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist, author and educator, the recipient of the 10th annual Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award. Cole will discuss the role of creativity in her life and work with philanthropist, educator and documentary producer Camille Cosby Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in Baird Auditorium in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award honors and celebrates the world’s most creative thinkers and innovators in the arts, sciences and humanities, in both traditional and emerging disciplines. Previous recipients were Yo-Yo Ma, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Eric Kandel, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Jules Feiffer, Ted Turner, Meryl Streep, Lisa Randall and Greg Mortenson. Tickets for the award ceremony and interview are $25 for general admission and $15 for Associate members. For tickets and information call (202) 633-3030 or visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

Cole is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation and study of the arts of Africa. Cole is also the board chair of the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute, founded at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. The mission of the nonprofit institute is to create, communicate and continuously support the case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace through education, training, research and  publications.

Cole gained national prominence in 1987 as the first African American woman president of Spelman College, which became the number-one ranked liberal arts college in the South under her leadership. Cole’s work in academia and anthropology, and her published work span more than four decades and reflect a deep and abiding commitment to racial and gender equality that is rooted in her upbringing. Cole will receive the Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award for her richness of ideas and originality of thinking.

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Note to editors: To request an interview with Cole or Cosby please contact Edward Burke at (202) 633-4660 or BurkeE@si.edu.

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