Michael Cirelli, Founder of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, a leading literary arts program for young writers in America, has led Urban Word for over two decades. Recognized as a top thought leader in the non-profit sector, he has received honours from the Ford Foundation and the Union Square Awards and was celebrated by Michelle Obama at the White House. His impactful work has been featured on CNN and in major news outlets such as ‘The New York Times,’ ‘The Washington Post,’ and ‘The Nation’.
As an educator and arts visionary, he served on the Artistic Advisory Board of the Boys & Girls Club of America. He taught critical literacy and hip-hop poetics at institutions like New York University, Michigan State University, the New School University, and the University of Wisconsin. At the University of Wisconsin, he directed the nationally recognized Hip-Hop in the Heartland conference for over fifteen years. His roles as a poet, educator, and administrator have enabled him to showcase poets on prominent national stages, from Madison Square Garden to the US Capitol.