UPstander Dr. Omékongo Dibinga to open AASL National Conference

For Immediate Release
Thu, 02/18/2021


Jennifer Habley

AASL Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – International motivational speaker and UPstander Dr. Omékongo Dibinga will keynote the opening general session of the 2021 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference, taking place October 21-23 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Full conference information and programming can be found at

“I am thrilled that Dr. Omékongo will be kicking off AASL21 as our opening keynote speaker,” said Jillian Ehlers, conference co-chair. “He will inspire, motivate, and empower school librarians and help us to become leaders in our communities and in the work that we do with and for students. Dr. Omékongo will also help us to understand the positive impact of antiracist and culturally relevant instruction so that we can begin to rebuild our school libraries.”

Dr. Omékongo is a professor of Inter-cultural Communication and a faculty affiliate to the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University. He is also an international speaker whose life’s mission is to inspire all across the globe to take a stand when they witness an injustice, no matter how small or large. “Why settle for outstanding when you can be UPstanding?” asks Dr. Omékongo.

Dr. Omékongo’s most recent book “The UPstander’s Guide to an Outstanding Life” is a life balance book for students. In his book, Dr. Omékongo provides key steps that all students must adopt to achieve greatness in their lives so they may advance their causes in the most effective way possible. 

Dr. Omékongo earned his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School and his Ph.D. in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland where his dissertation centered on the global hip-hop phenomenon and Jay-Z. At UMD, he also worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Diverse Students Initiative.” Across the country he has worked with school districts on culturally relevant instruction.

“I am so excited that Dr. Omékongo will start the AASL21 conference as our opening keynote speaker,” said conference co-chair Liz Philippi. “What a great way to start your AASL21 journey with his positive, inspirational words. He will help us to be the best leaders we can be for our students and schools and give us a clear path for making our communities more equitable and diverse.”

The AASL National Conference is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. Those communicating about the national conference are encouraged to use the official hashtag, #AASL21.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.