University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Panel Discussion Explores Work, Vision of the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation

 6PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 30, 2015) – The M. Night Shyamalan Foundation (MNSF), locally based and world-focused, hosts a panel discussion, "Action to Make a Better World," featuring founders M. Night Shyamalan and his wife, Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, Vice President of the MNSF, with three MNSF grantees, to discuss their work and the progress of the Foundation. The event—MNSF's first public program—is presented in partnership with the Global Philadelphia Association and the Penn Museum—Friday, April 17, 6:00 pm in the Widener Lecture Hall of the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street in Philadelphia. The event is FREE but space is limited and online advance reservations are required.

The M. Night Shyamalan Foundation takes pride in supporting grassroots leaders and their inspiring, hands-on efforts. The three grantees speaking at the event are Katie Meyler, a TIME "Person of the Year" and Founder of More Than Me, working in Liberia; James Kofi Annan, winner of the World's Children's Prize and Founder of Challenging Heights, with work in Ghana; and Alejandro Gac-Artigas, Echoing Green Fellow and Founder of Philadelphia-based Springboard Collaborative.

Katie Meyler has been recognized by TIME as a 2014 "Person of The Year" for leading More Than Me in the fight against Ebola. Under Meyler's leadership, More Than Me worked to meet community needs quickly by serving children made vulnerable by the epidemic and empowering local leaders and their communities to identify, transfer, and reintegrate patients and survivors. Meyler's passion and talent led More Than Me to win $1MM from CHASE Bank recognizing Meyler as a leading educator. In September 2013, Meyler and Nobel Laureate and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf cut the ribbon to the More Than Me Academy—the first tuition-free, all-girls academy in Liberia.

1 webAt age six, James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery on Lake Volta in Ghana, where he was forced to dive deep into muddy waters to untangle nets, facing sickness, starvation, and torture at the hands of his "masters." After escaping at age 13 and illiterate, Annan worked his way through basic schooling and rose to become a university graduate and manager at Barclays Bank of Ghana. In 2007, he resigned from his lucrative career in order to dedicate himself to the mission of Challenging Heights. Since then, Annan has driven various social and commercial initiatives in his quest to promote every child's right to education and a loving family. Annan contributes to national and international policy regarding child protection and has been recognized by several international awards for his commitment to the education of children worldwide.

Alejandro Gac-Artigas founded Springboard Collaborative in 2011 to close the reading achievement gap by coaching teachers, training family members, and incentivizing learning. Gac-Artigas was recently honored as "one of the world's best emerging social innovators" by Echoing Green, a leading impact investor that selected 20 startups from 3,500 global applicants. Gac-Artigas was also named one of Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 in 2014 and recognized as one of two national recipients of the Claneil Emerging Leaders Fund.


Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and his wife Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan co-founded the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation in October of 2001. It had long been an interest of the Shyamalans to "give back," and as they understood the privilege of their own lives and witnessed their own children thrive, it was hard to ignore the simple advantage of birth. Since then, the vision for the Foundation has become less about "charity" and more about equity and justice. It is no longer about just "giving back" but about a responsibility to ensure others have the same opportunities to realize their dreams. At the core of their vision is a belief that every human being has an unknown potential and the right to fulfill that potential.

Today, the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation is dedicated to investing in leaders who are determined to make a difference and change the world. MNS Foundation supports the grassroots efforts that these leaders make as they work to remove the barriers and eliminate inequities created by poverty.

M. Night Shyamalan: The Local Connection

M. Night Shyamalan comes from Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, where he began making films at a young age—by the age of 16, he had completed 45 short films. Shyamalan has shot several of his films in this area—his second feature film, Wide Awake (1998), which he wrote and directed, was shot in part on-location at the Penn Museum. The Oscar® nominated The Sixth Sense, which Shyamalan wrote and directed, starring Bruce Willis, was also shot in and around Philadelphia. He just wrapped production on The Visit, out September 11 from Universal, also shot in his home state, which he continues to use as a preferred backdrop.

About Global Philadelphia

The Global Philadelphia Association is a Pennsylvania nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3)-certified corporation. Founded by nine institutions in 2010, it has grown to over 120 members today. Its mission is to assist—and encourage greater interaction among—the many organizations and people who are engaged in one form or another of international activity within the Greater Philadelphia Region, to promote the development of an international consciousness within the Region, and to enhance the Region's global profile.

About the Penn Museum

Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), 3260 South Street in Philadelphia, is one of the world's great archaeology and anthropology research museums, and the largest university museum in the United States. With nearly one million objects in the collection, the Penn Museum encapsulates and illustrates the human story: who we are and where we came from. A dynamic research institution with many ongoing research projects, the Museum is an engaging place of discovery. The Museum's mandate of research, teaching, collections stewardship, and public engagement are the four "pillars" of the Museum's expansive mission: to transform understanding of the human experience.

The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.

The Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000.

Photos, top and bottom: M. Night Shyamalan visiting Uncommon Schools in NY when writing his book, I Got Schooled, on closing America's education gap.


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