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Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy


Sisters Megan and Sade The Girls from Oprah's Leadership Academy
For years, Oprah dreamt of the girls who would fill the halls of her new school in South Africa—never quite seeing their faces or hearing their names. Then she met applicants like Thando, Zodwa, Lesego, Mahlatse, Sade and Megan, and she knew.These are her dream girls.



Oprah and Nelson Mandela breaking ground on the Leadership Academy in South Africa Love Is in the Details
When Oprah set out to create the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, she knew she wanted to create a safe place that would inspire them to greatness as much as honor their South African heritage. See how Oprah built her dream school.





Mariah Carey hugs a student at Oprah's Leadership Academy South Africa The Beginning of New Tomorrows
Mariah Carey, Sidney Poitier, Nelson Mandela and many more were there to share in the celebration with Oprah and the girls at the new Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy. Share special moments from Opening Day.
Please note that Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities have no affiliation with and do not endorse those entities or websites referenced above, which are provided solely as a courtesy. Please conduct your own independent investigation (including an investigation as to whether any contributions are tax deductible) before donating to any charity, project or organization. This information is provided for your reference only.

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    The Chance of a Lifetime
    1 of 17
    Oprah breaks ground on the academy.
     
    The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls—South Africa is a boarding school for grades 7–12. It is the school of Oprah's dreams, but to make it a reality, she has to find the perfect students. "This is a school for leaders," Oprah says. "This is a school for powerful girls who will use their power in service to their nation and to our world."

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      President Obama and the First Lady Welcome Oprah Winfrey to the White House
      Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special


      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 25, 2009

      CHICAGO — Oprah Winfrey will usher in the holidays at the White House, visiting President Barack Obama and the first lady as they prepare for their family's first Christmas there, on Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special, airing Sunday, December 13, at 10 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network.

      The intimate, informative and entertaining hour-long special will include a one-on-one conversation with the president, marking the first time Oprah has interviewed him since he took office, as well as an exclusive sit-down interview with the first couple. The special will showcase behind-the-scenes preparations as the White House gets ready for the holiday season.

      Oprah Winfrey and Sheri Salata are executive producers of Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special. Lisa Erspamer is co-executive producer. Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special is a production of Harpo Productions.

      Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound and Spanish subtitles via secondary closed-captioning. A TV-parental guideline will be assigned closer to airdate.

      For more information on Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special, please visit ABC.com.



      More from Oprah.com

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        25 of the Smartest Pieces of Advice from Women Who Started Their Own Businesses
        You want to start a jewelry line? Open a stationery store? Become a florist? These women left behind corporate offices and dead-end jobs to follow their dreams—and they're giving you the benefit of their wisdom.
        Katrina Parris
        Photo: Sage Sohier
        Be Open to Anything
        "A friend asked if I wanted to do a food trade show with her. I brought a few products with me, not expecting to sell or anything—and suddenly we got all these orders! I had no idea how we were going to package or prepare so much so quickly, but I never say no unless I completely understand why it can't be done. I think how you approach obstacles is a big part of being successful—you can't give up."
        —Alisa Barry, Chef and Owner, Bella Cucina Artful Food

        Make an Announcement
        "I sent out an email to everybody I knew, announcing what we were doing. For me, the act of saying 'I'm starting a literary magazine' was as brave as actually doing it. When I said it with confidence, people believed me—and I believed me."
        —Maribeth Batcha, Publisher, One Story, a literary magazine

        Build Your Own Board
        "I had to learn so much. I took classes at the local center for nonprofit management and read everything I could get my hands on. I realized the smartest thing I could do would be to surround myself with an advisory board of people who knew more than I did."
        —Meredith Blake, Founder Break the Cycle, a domestic violence prevention program

        Take Ownership
        "There's no store without the concept, so from the very beginning, we trademarked every single thing involved in the look of the store."
        —Ninel Pompushko, Founder, T-Shirt Deli, a custom t-shirt store in Chicago.
        Read her story

        Hone Your Business Skills
        "There's a perception out there that you can't be an artist and a businessperson at the same time. Artists are told 'Don't bother with math.' But you have to balance passion and analytical skills. Knowing the business side of my job gives me the ability to take risks in every aspect—from dealing with banks to new designs—and I love that."
        —Annie Morhauser, Owner and Creative Director, Annieglass, which produces luxury, handmade glass table art

        Next: Why you shouldn't quit your day job just yet
        PAGE 1 of 5

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          OWN Adds Primetime Specials to January Lineup
          "Oprah's Master Class" Returns as a Series of Specials Beginning Sunday, January 8 and the Special Event "Oprah and the Legendary Cast of ‘Roots' 35 Years Later" will Air on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 16
          Jane Fonda
          Photo: Courtesy of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
          December 21, 2011

          Los Angeles, CA - OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today two new additions to its January primetime programming lineup: "Oprah's Master Class" returns as a series of specials beginning Sunday, January 8 (10-11 p.m. ET/PT) and an OWN special event, "Oprah and the Legendary Cast of ‘Roots' 35 Years Later," will air on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 16 (8-9 p.m. ET/PT).

          "Oprah's Master Class" will debut with Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda (January 8). Other masters profiled this season will include three additional award-winning actors Goldie Hawn, Sidney Poitier and Morgan Freeman; media mogul philanthropist Ted Turner; acclaimed musicians Reba McEntire and Jon Bon Jovi; and professional athletes Laird Hamilton and Grant Hill.

          Celebrating the anniversary of the groundbreaking television series "Roots," the primetime special event "Oprah and the Legendary Cast of ‘Roots' 35 Years Later" offers an intimate reflection on the historic television miniseries based on Alex Haley's novel which debuted in 1977 to record-breaking ratings. Hosted by Oprah Winfrey at her home in Montecito, California, the television event brings together many of the legendary cast members from the series, including Cicely Tyson and LeVar Burton, as well as Leslie Uggams, John Amos, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Ben Vereen. With original clips from "Roots" serving as their backdrop, the cast shares with Oprah their personal accounts of working on the extraordinary series, as well as taking part in television history. "Roots" forever changed television. For the first time, TV viewers white and black experienced a part of American history through the eyes of slaves. For many it marked an awakening...and for the participating actors and actresses, it was nothing short of a spiritual experience. "Oprah and the Legendary Cast of ‘Roots' 35 Years Later" is produced by Harpo Studios.

          "Oprah's Master Class" tells the stories you've never heard from the people you thought you knew best. Hand-picked by Oprah Winfrey for their unique impact on the world, nine true modern masters from Academy Award-winning actors, to Grammy-winning musicians, to ground-breaking athletes, share the greatest lessons they've learned along the way. In an intimate setting, they share their successes, their failures, their triumphs, disappointments and heartbreaks. "Oprah's Master Class" offers an unprecedented first-person insight into the brilliant minds of the famous people we love, respect and admire. "Oprah's Master Class" is co-produced by Harpo Studios and @radical.media.

          For a preview of "Oprah's Master Class", click here.

          About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
          A joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is a multi-platform media company designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives. OWN debuted on January 1, 2011, in approximately 77 million homes on what was the Discovery Health Channel. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform, Oprah.com. For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own and www.press.discovery.com/us/own.

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            Building a Dream
            Gayle King
            In light of Oprah's ABC primetime special, Building a Dream: Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy, which airs on February 26, 2007, Gayle invites Anna Deavere Smith to share her reflections on the school. The playwright, author and actress traveled to South Africa for the opening of the school at the start of 2007. Anna talks to Gayle about what the emotion-filled journey meant to her.

            Building a Dream tells the story of the Leadership Academy from its beginning five years ago to its opening day. Witnessing the opening ceremony firsthand was an emotional experience for Anna. "What was so powerful to me and so historic and forward looking about what Oprah is doing is that those girls really felt like our children," she says.

            Many of the students at the academy come from difficult pasts. Some have endured rape and abuse, others are AIDS orphans. Although Anna says she had great expectations even before meeting the girls, she says she was overwhelmed by their smiles, enthusiasm and character when she met them in person. "These girls are going to convert, I'm sure, the kinds of challenging histories that they've had into purposeful, mission-driven lives," Anna says.

            Anna says one of the greatest things she took from the trip was the spirit of ubuntu, a traditional African concept that says, "I am because we are." For Anna, ubuntu means thinking globally and learning from other peoples and cultures—something which she says is critical in today's oftentimes polarized world. "If we don't understand that we can learn something about ourselves by looking elsewhere, then we'll never get to that spirit," she says.

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