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MLK Week Keynote: Derreck Kayongo

January 21 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm MST

End MLK Week with a keynote address from Derreck Kayongo, an internationally recognized visionary and humanitarian. Gain inspiration and gather advice from an expert who exemplifies the beloved community.

Please plan to arrive at the venue promptly as the venue’s capacity is 120. Per university guidelines, masks are required at all events. If you are not able to attend the event in person, you may attend virtually through the live stream on this page.

Derreck Kayongo

Derreck Kayongo

Entrepreneur, Global Soap Project Founder, CNN Hero, and Former CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights


With his trademark panache, Derreck Kayongo tells his courageous story of survival, social entrepreneurship, and humanitarianism, and the life lessons he learned along the way.

From Ugandan refugee to successful entrepreneur, CEO, and renowned human rights activist, Derreck’s journey inspires audiences to dream big. Through personable and articulate storytelling, he shares his visionary ideas for harnessing the power of observation and creative problem solving, applicable to any organization or community. It’s all about taking responsibility while looking for opportunities to improve. 

Derreck is the founder of the Global Soap Project: a humanitarian aid organization that collects discarded and unused soap from thousands of hotels worldwide, reprocesses it, then distributes it to in-need populations around the world. The project was born from his simple observation about how much soap is available in hotels, and how much is thrown away when hotel rooms are turned. This observation turned into a simple yet innovative idea that is now battling global health issues in 90 countries. Hygiene-related diseases, and the resulting deaths, have dissipated in many at-risk communities, thanks in part to Derreck’s creative problem solving. 

The energy and enthusiasm levels are unmatched as Derreck brings his stories and principles to life. He identifies the key factors of his personal and professional success with the memorable acronym S.E.L.F.: Service, Education, Leadership and Faith. He calls upon his dynamic experiences to empower audiences, inspiring an entrepreneur spirit made possible only through creative problem solving. Derreck’s emotionally-packed presentations linger long after his speech, empowering audiences to invent their own self-made motto of success so they can create tangible change in the world.

In creating this global humanitarian initiative, Derreck demonstrates that a simple yet novel idea has the power to transform millions of lives. That “the little guy can do something big.” It is this creativity and innovation that led him to be named a 2011 CNN Top Ten Hero and a 2014 TED Talks speaker.

Derreck’s demonstrated passion for helping others and commitment to innovative thinking led him to the role of CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. During his time as CEO, he elevated the visibility of the Center on a global scale, showcasing stories of victims of civil rights abuse and the heroic actions that changed the course of history.

Derreck is an advisory board member for The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Derreck Kayongo is an internationally recognized visionary and humanitarian. The Global Soap Project demonstrates his creativity and innovation, making him a leader in both global health and environmental sustainability. His infectious optimism and powerful storytelling inspire audiences from all walks of life to see the bigger picture.

MLK Week

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week


This event is part of MLK Week (January 15 – 21, 2022).

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week (MLK Week) is a platform to engage students, faculty, staff, trainees, and community members in critical conversations around contemporary Civil Rights issues and race in America. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the “beloved community” as a nonviolent, just society where love and trust triumph over fear and hatred. In a year that has been filled with division, the 2022 MLK Week planning committee chose “Becoming the Beloved Community” as this year’s theme so we may explore ways to bridge the divide and work together to become the beloved community. Events and conversations throughout the week will honor Dr. King’s vision, offer direction, and challenge us to determine a better way forward.

O.C. Tanner Ballroom (Alumni House)

155 Central Campus Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
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Organizers & Partners

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

View Organizer Website

MLK Week Planning Committee

View Organizer Website