Sean Penn is Keynote Speaker at the 2011 GBTA Convention

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the voice of the business travel industry, today announced Sean Penn, Oscar-winning film icon and humanitarian will be a featured speaker at the 2011 GBTA Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 21 – 24, 2011. Mr. Penn’s appearance is made possible by Amadeus IT Group.

“Sean Penn has led a career of exceptional projects extending into various roles within the arts both in front of the camera and behind, continuing to entertain audiences while also becoming an influential voice on issues such as the rebuilding of New Orleans and Haiti,” said Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO, GBTA. “We are thrilled to announce Sean as the newest speaker for the 2011 Convention, his achievements and versatility are examples of the importance of adaptability and strong will to be successful in all walks of life. Our membership will benefit from hearing from him.”

Sean Penn has been nominated five times for the Academy Award® as Best Actor for “Dead Man Walking,” “Sweet and Lowdown,” “I Am Sam” and won his first Oscar® in 2003 for his searing performance in Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” and his second Oscar® as Best Actor in 2009 for Gus Van Sant’s “Milk.”  Penn has also received Best Actor awards at the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals, as well as being a two-time winner of Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival.

Penn’s humanitarian work has found him in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and more recently in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. In January 2010, Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization which focuses on debris removal, medical aid, protection, and re-location. His organization is currently serving as UN IOM designated Camp Management for the largest IDP camp in Port-au-Prince and established the first emergency re-location in the country.

For his efforts, Penn received the Commander’s Award for Service (US Army 82nd Airborne Division), 82nd Airborne Award for Meritorious Service, the Operation Unified Response JTF Haiti Certificate from Lieutenant General, US Army Commander P.K. Keen, along with the 1st Recon 73rd Division Coin of Excellence, 2nd Brigade Combat Team Coin of Excellence, Commendation of Excellence United States Southern Command, and Award of Excellence by the Deputy Commander US Southern Command. Earlier this year, Penn was honored with the “Children’s and Families Global Development Fund Humanitarian Award” presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti, Raymond A. Joseph and his wife, Lola Poisson-Joseph.  In July 2010 Penn was knighted by Haitian President Rene Preval in a ceremony in Port-Au-Prince. Penn recently received the 2010 Hollywood Humanitarian Award from the Hollywood Film Festival and the 2011 Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America.

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As a journalist, Penn has written for Time, Interview, Rolling Stone and The Nation magazines and has held landmark interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Cuba’s President Raul Castro, which were published in The Nation and The Huffington Post. Penn’s interview with President Castro was the first-ever interview with an international journalist.

The GBTA Convention, with more than 6,000 attendees, is the largest, most comprehensive annual gathering of business travel and meetings managers, meeting planners, procurement professionals and suppliers in the world. For more information about the 2011 GBTA Convention, visit gbta.org/convention