General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret), is the author of his best-selling autobiography, "My American Journey," which traces his life from his birth to immigrant Jamaican parents in Harlem, to his role in advising this country’s three most recent chief executives, Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton.
General Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held myriad command and staff positions. His last assignment, from October 1, 1989 to September 30, 1993, was as the twelfth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time he oversaw 28 crises including Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.
General Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. military awards and decorations. His civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. He is also the recipient of an honorary knighthood (Knight Commander of the Bath) bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
In April 1997, General Powell chaired the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in Philadelphia. Since then he has been serving as chairman of America’s Promise--The Alliance for Youth, the national crusade aimed at building and strengthening the character and competence of children and young people.