Diversity Day keynote speaker and award-winning poet, Ameen-Storm Abo-Hamzy, has spent his life on the road toward peace.

Born in Torrington, Connecticut, to Mohammed and Aida A. Hamzy, the grandson of an American GI, Ameen (which translates as trustworthy), his two sisters Doonia (which translates as the World), and Bader (which translates as Full Moon) lived in Beirut until the cruel reality of war in the Middle East forced the family to return to their home in the idyllic Housatonic River Valley of Connecticut. The experience left Ameen with a passion for achieving lasting peace among nations.

He received his first award for poetry in eighth grade at Lee H. Kellogg School in a contest sponsored by Lion’s Head Books in Salisbury. Upon graduating from Housatonic Valley Regional High School in 1983, he attended Norwich University, (The Military College of Vermont), graduating cum laude in 1987. Whereupon he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the United States Army (Airborne) and served until he was injured in the line of duty and honorably discharged. In 2003 he graduated with his Master’s from Wesleyan University.

Evolution Ink, a not for profit organization founded by Ameen, produces a poetry series hosted by the Collin’s Diner, a National Historic Landmark in North Canaan, Connecticut, and is dedicated to the proposition of peace as a realistic expectation. The Poetry Is Music® summer festival that Evolution Ink has sponsored every year since 1995, is a testament to the power of love and art to heal the rifts among people.

Through his award-winning poetry published in The Voice, The Day Keeper Journal, The Lakeville Journal, The Vietnam Veterans’ Journal, The Underwood Review, The Chameleon, and Our Heritage and through his work as a teacher and coach, Ameen spreads the gospel of peace wherever he goes. Evolution Ink is a network of good work and community outreach, keeping the Arts alive and empowering students to achieve any aspiration. Ameen teaches for the Litchfield Performing Arts and coaches wrestling in Region One. He has been featured in articles in The New York Times, The Litchfield County Times, The Lakeville Journal, The Voice, and The Republican- American and in a host of local newspapers. He has appeared on MTV in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as on radio, and has performed his poetry throughout the continental United States in London, Madrid, Paris, Lebanon, and the Canary Islands. In 2002 he was invited to participate in the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine.

On June 22, 2002 he delivered the commencement address to Housatonic Valley Regional High School’s graduates in Region One of Connecticut. The Connecticut Commission on the Arts has recently selected him as a Master Teaching Artist. Nominated for The Governor’s Award for his contribution to the cultural enhancement of Connecticut through the Arts 2003 and 2005. Recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Advocate for Culture and Tourism Award for selfless dedication to promoting Connecticut through the Arts. In 2006 he was made Poet Laurette of Housatonic Lodge #61 of Ancient Free And Accepted Masons. In August of 2006 he was invited to membership in The National Arts Club. In 2008 he was invited to meet The First Lady of The United States The Honorable Laura Bush.