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Hub to host 2011 National Urban League Conference

Banner Staff | 4/17/2009, 9:28 a.m.
Boston was recently selected to be the host city for the 2011 annual conference of the National Urban League, a decision considered a victory for the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and its president and CEO, Darnell L. Williams (pictured).

In what is considered a major coup, the city of Boston has been selected as the host of the 2011 annual conference of the National Urban League (NUL).

The decision marks a victory for the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM), which competed against Urban League affiliates around the country for the honor. The conference, scheduled to take place July 27-31, 2011, is expected to attract nearly 10,000 visitors to Boston.

“The National Urban League is excited to bring our largest event to the great city of Boston, where the rich culture and thriving business community is home to one of the Urban League’s strongest leadership teams,” said NUL President and CEO Marc H. Morial. “Our annual conference will be a powerful showcase of many of America’s thought leaders, Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurial opportunities and the impact of the Urban League movement here and across the nation.”

Community leaders, government officials, corporate partners and local residents expressed excitement at the opportunity to once again host the Urban League.

“Boston hosted the National Urban League Annual Conference in 1976, so after 35 years, we are extremely honored … in welcoming the NUL Annual Conference back to the ‘new’ Boston,” said ULEM President and CEO Darnell L. Williams, who was recently elected secretary of NUL’s Association of Executives.

“Our selection to host the 2011 National Urban League Annual Conference is a major validation of our accomplishments and strategic focus on economic empowerment through public policy advocacy, quality programs and employment opportunities,” Williams added.

Even Mayor Thomas M. Menino was pleased.

“Boston is the perfect host city for a conference that will bring together an impressive cross-section of influential leaders to discuss the important policy issues affecting America’s urban communities,” Menino said in a statement. “As a city that takes pride in its increasingly diverse identity, we have both a lot to contribute and to gain from this conference.”

James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), said the NUL’s annual conferences “are more than just about networking.”

“The debates and decisions that will take place inside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in 2011 are all geared towards creating a greater common good. That’s what we’re about as well,” Rooney said. “And even though this event is two years away, the MCCA is getting ready to offer the tools and an experience that will ensure the conference doesn’t wait another 35 years before returning to Boston.”