Elizabeth Smart to Speak at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Elizabeth Smart, an activist and ABC News contributor who gained widespread attention after she was abducted at the age of 14, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy at Nicholls State University.

Smart will speak at the academy’s closing ceremonies at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 11 in the Cotillion Ballroom at the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Due to community interest, the Nicholls Office of Continuing Education has opened up ticket sales to the public at $25 per person.

Smart was abducted from her home in June 2002 in what would become one of the most followed kidnapping cases of our time. She was safely returned to her family after being held prisoner for nine months. Because of this traumatic experience, Smart has become an advocate for change regarding child abduction issues, recovery programs and national legislation relating to kidnapping and sexual abuse.

Smart founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which aims to protect children from internet crimes and educate them about violent and sexual crimes. She has also helped to promote the national AMBER Alert program and other safety legislation to prevent abductions. In addition, Smart chronicled her experiences in her bestselling memoir, My Story.

The Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy, sponsored by the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business at Nicholls, is a four-day program aimed at preparing girls entering grades 9-11 for future leadership roles.

To request tickets, visit the Office of Continuing Education’s website at www.nicholls.edu/continuing-ed.