13-year-old college student with Nobel nomination to speak in Lihu’e

Gregory R. Smith is one of many concerned world citizens committed to educating and protecting the world’s children, and at the age of 13, he’s a step closer to achieving his dream with a nomination this month for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The young college student entered college at the age of 10 and has been featured on the Oprah Show and 60 Minutes, and has appeared in national magazines and on other news programs. He’s met with world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, President Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev to describe his educational and peace plan.

This school year Smith is a senior at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., and is scheduled to visit Kaua’i on Friday, Aug. 9 to be the guest speaker at an event titled “Building an Extraordinary Future for Kaua’i’s Children.” The event is scheduled to run from 7 -9 p.m. at the Kaua’i Community College Performing Arts Center. The public is invited to the talk and admission is free.

Smith’s talk is set to take place the day after an islandwide youth conference sponsored by the Office of the Mayor. At the first Kaua’i International Youth Congress, some 60 Kaua’i youth are set to participate in which is being patterned after the United Youth Congress – a forum that allows Smith and other youth leaders to discuss the state of the world with political, educational, religious, scientific and humanitarian leaders.

As part of the youth congress, Kaua’i middle and high-school aged students are creating a list of their top ten issues, concerns, solutions and dreams for their future.

Four students from the Kaua’i youth congress will present their list on Aug. 9 prior to Smith’s address at KCC. A question-and-answer session will follow.

This report will be submitted with Smith’s United Youth Congress Report, and will be shared with world leaders and industry heads.

“We hope that all of Kaua’i’s keiki, their parents and anyone concerned about the future of our children will attend,” said Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear from a young man who has gained respect around the world from leaders at the highest levels,” Kusaka added.

The Office of the Mayor and the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Eta Chapter, are the event’s co-sponsors.

Smith has collected many honors throughout his young life, and is a member of a number of philanthropic groups. He’s also the youngest student ever to graduate from a high school in Florida, and the youngest student in the history of Randolph-Macon College.

He is noted as the founder of a group called International Youth Advocates, whose volunteers are committed to promoting principles of peace and understanding and protecting the world’s youth from violence.

Smith’s greatest pleas for peace have come after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

“With terrorism, there will be no peace, I have pledged my life to work for peace,” he has said.

As a representative to the United Nations Special Session on the Rights of the Child, he called for action in the Caucus on Children in Armed Conflict.

His main concern at the UN is to put a stop to the thousands of children around the world involved in war, and to put an end to the effects of war on children.

“Gregory is a visionary in every sense of the world, and he’s devoting his life to the promotion of peace and the education of children all over the globe,” stated the County of Kaua’i’s Youth Programs Coordinator, Sharon Agnew.

Agnew met with the Smith family at Randolph-Macon College.

“Gregory is an amazing young man – he’s like every other 13 year old in many ways, and yet he’s like no one you’ve ever met in so many others,” Agnew said.

“We hope our entire community will embrace this remarkable young man by attending this event and learning how to make their voice heard around the world,” said Kusaka.

“I know I am a dreamer, an idealist; but the world needs idealists to create the new discoveries of tomorrow,” Smith writes on his Web site, www.gregoryrsmith.com.

For more information, call Sharon Agnew, County Youth Services, at 241-6240.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei may be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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