Oprah’s ‘all-time favorite guest’ to speak at Washington College

CHESTERTOWN — Tererai Trent, Ph.D., whose work to break the cycle of poverty and gender inequity in her native Zimbabwe has inspired people the world over, is coming to Washington College on Tuesday, March 5.

The educator, motivational speaker and award-winning author will discuss her book, “The Awakened Woman: A Guide for Remembering and Igniting Your Sacred Dreams,” which received a 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and includes a rare forward from Oprah Winfrey.

Heather Mizeur of #WeAreOne Alliance will moderate the talk.

Trent will sign books starting at 4 p.m. and then move to the stage of Decker Theatre in the college’s Gibson Center for the Arts at 5 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Everyone is invited to the reception that will follow the talk.

More information is available at www.weareonealliance.org/dreams.

Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe, in a country known as Rhodesia under colonial rule where cultural practices and a war that liberated her country charted the course of her life.

Because of traditional women’s roles and cultural norms, Trent did not have the opportunity to go to school.

Undeterred, she still dreamed of an education and determinedly taught herself to read and write from her brother’s schoolbooks.

Though married young and having four children by the time she was 18, Trent never lost sight of her dreams.

As a young mother without a high school diploma, Trent met a woman who would profoundly impact her life: Jo Luck, president and CEO of Heifer International.

Luck told Trent, “If you believe in your dreams, they are achievable.”

With this inspiration and her own mother’s encouragement, Trent wrote down her dreams of going to America for higher education, sealed them in a tin can and buried them under a rock, ultimately redesigning the blueprint of her life.

Trent’s steadfast determination, hard work and belief in her dreams would eventually earn her multiple degrees, and a prominent global platform with world leaders and international businesses and audiences where she advocates for universal access to quality education.

A two-time guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Trent was named by Oprah as her “all-time favorite guest.”

In recognition of Trent’s tenacity and never-give-up attitude, she received a $1.5 million donation from Winfrey to rebuild the elementary school in her home village in Zimbabwe.

With the firm belief that education is the pathway out of poverty and a desire to give back to her community, Trent founded Tererai Trent International.

Through strategic partnerships with Oprah Winfrey and Save the Children, Trent’s mission to provide universal access to quality education while also empowering rural communities is now being realized.

According to a news release, 11 schools are being built in Zimbabwe and education has been improved for more than 6,000 children so far.

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