Nikki Giovanni speaks at Biennial Cultural Competency Conference

On March 14, 2014 • By

As part of the Distinguished Speakers Series and the 6th Biennial Cultural Competency Conference at Georgia State, Nikki Giovanni spoke on March 13 in the Student Center Ballroom.

Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Douglass F. Covey, Sr. introduced the keynote speaker, listing some of her accolades and accomplishments.

“Giovanni is one of America’s most widely read poets,” Dr. Covey said. “She has received NAACP Image Awards for three of her books. Most recently, Rosa, a picture book about Rosa Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book and also reached number three on the New York Times Best-Seller List.”

Giovanni talked about a variety of topics, offering advice to students and anecdotes from her own life. She also read a number of her poems including “Tennessee By Birth,” “Artichoke Soup,” and “My Sister and Me.”


“You are living in a textbook. You must take advantage of this city. It is a fabulous city,” she said to the students in the audience.

She also said it is important for students to have passports so they can travel and constantly learn new things.

Giovanni’s speech was followed by a Q&A; Session. She talked about being in love at the age of 17 and the perks of attending college in Atlanta.

“Anything that makes you smile is going to be good for you,” she said to an audience member’s question.

Sophomore Kris Bridges said his favorite part of the speech was Giovanni’s understanding of history and how she made it applicable to our current lives.

“Dr. Giovanni reaffirmed the need for awareness. Regardless of title, student or teacher, we must all strive for justification,” sophomore Joshua Jackson said.

The Cultural Competency Conference is held by the Division of Student Affairs and the Georgia State University Counseling and Testing Center.

The purpose of the conference is to provide attendees with opportunities for deep thought and learning, according to the conference’s website.

This year’s theme was stated as “Transforming Ourselves, Transforming Our World: Cultural Competency as a Tool for Change!”