University of Bridgeport (UB) lecturer Stephen Balkaran, an expert on diversity, immigration, and public policy, has been named among the “100 Most Influential Men of Color” at the annual Eleven28 Entertainment awards dinner, which since 2013 has honored change-makers and other role models throughout Connecticut.

Balkaran will receive his award on Friday, October 20, 2017 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford.

Proceeds from the black-tie gala fund scholarships for students to attend STEM summer camps at the Connecticut Science Center, said June Archer, president and CEO of Eleven28 Entertainment. Archer created the awards ceremony to “inspire and motivate to achieve and believe that dreams do come true.”

To that end, “Men of Color” honorees include shop owners to businessmen to students—anyone—working to make positive changes in their communities, Archer said. “You can be black, white, polka dot. It doesn’t matter. This is a night for the community. It’s a time to honor the past, present, and future. We give posthumous awards and awards to students, too.”

Balkaran was selected for his contributions in the fields of African American and Civil Rights studies.

He currently teaches courses in U.S. Civil Rights, African American History, and International Relations in the School for Professional Studies (formerly known as the IDEAL program) at UB. His more than 20-year career includes numerous positions in academia and government. He has been an assistant director of an academic partnership between Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress and the University of Connecticut and was an aide to former Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapoport.

As a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Balkaran writes about diversity and inclusion, American foreign policy, immigration, and public policy. His seventh and most recent book, Trouble in Paradise: The African-American Experience in Key West, will be released in 2018. His research has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, Yale Political Quarterly, and Hispanic Outlook in Higher Ed.

Prior to lecturing at UB, Balkaran conducted research at UConn’s Institute for African American Studies, the International Labor Organization within the United Nations, and the Human Rights Research Fund at Yale University. He has also lectured extensively and taught courses in political science, African American history, international relations, and other related courses at Quinnipiac University, Post University, Fairfield University, and UConn.

“It’s an honor to be acknowledged for my work in Civil Rights. It was a dream Dr. King had in the 1960s, and it still needs to be emphasized in 2017,” Balkaran said.

Balkaran earned BA and MA degrees in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. He is a graduate of Quinnipiac University School of Law and a former CLEO (Council on Legal Education) Fellow at University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu