Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada is the acclaimed author of "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America" and was the recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994 for his work as President/CEO of Harlem Children's Zone in New York City. He was chosen as an award recipient for his passionate concern for children and his selfless determination to make their lives safer and more successful.


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Author, Education


Full Bio


Geoffrey Canada is the acclaimed author of "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America" and was the recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994 for his work as President/CEO of Harlem Children's Zone in New York City. He was chosen as an award recipient for his passionate concern for children and his selfless determination to make their lives safer and more successful.

Since 1990, Mr. Canada has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Harlem Children’s Zone. In a June 2004 cover story in The New York Times Magazine, the agency's Zone Project was called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." The Project offers an interlocking network of social service, education and community-building programs to thousands of children and families in a 60-block area of Central Harlem.

In October 2005, Mr. Canada was named one of "America’s Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report.

In January 2006, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose Mr. Canada to be co-chair of a task force assigned to significantly reduce poverty in New York City.

The work of Mr. Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on "60 Minutes," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "CBS This Morning," "The Charlie Rose Show," National Public Radio’s "On Point," as well in articles in The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Daily News, USA Today, Newsday, The Boston Globe and Town and Country magazine.

A much sought-after speaker, Mr. Canada enjoys a national reputation as both an advocate for and expert on issues concerning violence, children and community redevelopment.

Mr. Canada, who grew up in the South Bronx, has dedicated his life to helping children who grew up in conditions similar to those faced by his family secure both educational and economic opportunities. Prominent among his many efforts are the Harlem Children's Zone's Beacon School, Harlem Peacemakers Program, and Community Pride Initiative. The Beacon School program provides support 12 hours a day, 365 days a year to children and families in Central Harlem.

Mr. Canada is also the founder (in 1983) of the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School. As the school's Chief Instructor, Mr. Canada (a Third Degree Black Belt) teaches the principles of Tae Kwon Do to community youth along with anti-violence and conflict resolution techniques. The Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School is a nationally recognized model for violence prevention efforts.

Mr. Canada holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bowdoin College and a Master's Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining the Harlem Children's Zone, he served as Director of the Robert White School, a private day school for troubled inner city youth in Boston.

Upon returning to New York City in 1983, Mr. Canada became the Program Director for Truancy Prevention Program.

Mr. Canada is also the East Coast Regional Coordinator for the Black Community Crusade for Children. The Crusade is a nationwide effort to make saving Black children the number one priority in the Black community. This initiative is being coordinated by Marian Wright Edelman and the Children's Defense Fund.

He has won numerous awards, including: the McGraw Prize for Education, the Robin Hood Foundation's Heroes of the Year Award, Child Magazine's "Children's Champion" award, the Spirit of the City Award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Bowdoin College's Common Good Award and New York University's Brennan Legacy Award. He has also received Honorary Degrees from Harvard University, Williams College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Bank Street College of Education and Lombard Theological Seminary.

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