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Speaker Biographies

Linda Fairstein

Senior Adviser
K2 Intelligence

Linda Fairstein – lawyer, former prosecutor, and internationally best-selling crime novelist – is one of America’s foremost legal experts on crimes of violence against women and children. She is a senior adviser at K2 Intelligence, founded by Jules and Jeremy Kroll, where she leads the Campus Sexual Misconduct Group, specializing in best practices and Title IX compliance at academic institutions. For three decades, from 1972 until 2002, Fairstein served in the office of the New York County District Attorney, where she was chief of the county’s pioneering Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for 26 years. In that position, she supervised the investigation and trial of Manhattan cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and homicides. She is also the author of a nonfiction work, "Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape," which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and is a regular contributor on criminal justice issues to magazines, journals, and online publications like The Daily Beast.

Fairstein is an honors graduate of Vassar College, 1969, and the University of Virginia School of Law, 1972. In 1998, her law school classmates established a scholarship fund in her honor, supporting law school students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector.

She has received numerous awards for her legal work and advocacy, and in many instances, was the first woman to be so honored. These include the Federal Bar Council’s Emory Buckner Award for Public Service and the UJA Federation’s Proskauer Award. For her pioneering work on behalf of victims of violence, she received Columbia University’s School of Medicine and School of Nursing Award for Excellence; the Anti-Violence Project "Courage" Award; Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year Award; and the American Heart Association Women of Courage award. She is the author of an internationally best-selling series of crime novels, which feature Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. The 15th in the series – "Death Angel" – debuted in July 2013.

Salamishah Tillet

Associate Professor of English
University of Pennsylvania

Salamishah Tillet is a rape survivor, scholar, and writer, who has spent her career championing the rights and voices of our most vulnerable citizens. Nominated by Glamour magazine as a "Women of the Year" and named as one of the "Top 50 Global Leaders Ending Violence Against Children" by the Together for Girls' Safe magazine, she is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and has faculty appointments in the departments of Africana Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

Tillet is co-founder with her sister of A Long Walk Home, Inc., a nonprofit that uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to end violence against girls and women.

In 1997, Scheherazade Tillet learned that her older sister, Salamishah, was a rape survivor. Seeking to help her heal, Scheherazade turned to photography and began documenting the stages of Salamishah's recovery. At the end of the project, the sisters wrote and directed "Story of a Rape Survivor," a multimedia performance that brings Salamishah's experience to life.

In 2010-11, Tillet was named the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow for Career Enhancement and served as a visiting fellow at the Center of African American Studies at Princeton University. In 2010, she was awarded the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.

She received her doctorate in the History of American Civilization in 2007, a master’s degree in English from Harvard University, and a master of arts in teaching from Brown University. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania where she received her bachelor’s degree in English and Afro-American Studies.