RootsTech Connect announces final 6 of 13 keynote speakers

RootsTech Connect has announced its final group of keynote speakers for its a free, virtual family history celebration Feb. 25-27.

According to a Feb. 1 press release, the following are slated to speak at the upcoming event:

  • Astrid Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University and native Filipina
  • Bless4, chorus and dance group from Japan
  • LadySmith Black Mambazo, Zulu-style musical group from South Africa
  • Tita, acclaimed Brazilian soccer player
  • Will Hopoate, professional rugby league player from Australia
  • Bruna Benites, soccer Olympian from Brazil

Astrid S. Tuminez was appointed the seventh president of UVU in 2018. Born in a farming village in the Philippine province of Iloilo, she holds a bachelor’s degree from BYU in international relations and Russian literature, a master’s degree from Harvard University in Soviet studies and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in political science. 

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University, will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech Connect in February 2021.
Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University, will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech Connect in February 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bless4 made its major debut in 2003 with “Good Morning! Mr. Sunshine.” Since then, some of their hit songs include “Stitch is Coming,” “Extra Magic Hour,” “Miiro,” “Let’s Have A PARTY,” and “Sousei no Aquarion.” The four Latter-day Saint siblings’ documentary “The Entertainers” aired in more than 90 countries around the world. 

The chorus and dance group from Japan, bless4, will speak and perform at RootTech Connect in February 2021. The four siblings are Latter-day Saints.
The chorus and dance group from Japan, bless4, will speak and perform at RootTech Connect in February 2021. The four siblings are Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960. The group rose to prominence after collaborating with Paul Simon on his “Graceland” album and have since won five Grammy Awards and received nominations for many others. They were named “Cultural Ambassadors of South Africa” by former president Nelson Mandela. 

Members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo of South Africa will be keynote speakers and performers at the upcoming RootsTech Connect virtual family history event in February 2021. Their musical careers have spanned more than 60 years.
Members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo of South Africa will be keynote speakers and performers at the upcoming RootsTech Connect virtual family history event in February 2021. Their musical careers have spanned more than 60 years. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tita, whose full name is Milton Queiroz da Paixao, entered the professional soccer league with Flamengo when he was just 18 years old. Two years later, he was named Brazil’s Soccer Selection and continued on to participate in the 1990 World Cup. From Brazil to Germany, Italy, Mexico and Guatemala, highlights of his professional journey include playing with legends like Zico, helping Bayer Leverkusen win its first cup and supporting Flamengo in their most successful season.

Tita, whose full name is Milton Queiroz da Paixão, will speak at the upcoming RootsTech Connect virtual family history event in February 2021. He is considered one of the best players in the history of Brazilian soccer.
Tita, whose full name is Milton Queiroz da Paixão, will speak at the upcoming RootsTech Connect virtual family history event in February 2021. He is considered one of the best players in the history of Brazilian soccer. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Will Hopoate began playing for the Professional Rugby League when he was 18 years old. He paused his rugby league career to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later returned to Australia’s National Rugby League as a member of the Parramatta Eels. He currently plays fullback for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Most recently, he was named the “Bulldogs Player of the Year” in 2019.

Australian rugby league star Will Hopoate will speak at RootsTech Connect in February 2021. He paused his career to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and currently plays fullback for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Australian rugby league star Will Hopoate will speak at RootsTech Connect in February 2021. He paused his career to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and currently plays fullback for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bruna Benites represented her country as captain of the Brazilian National Women’s Soccer Team at the London Olympics in 2012. Two years later, the Latter-day Saint won the CONMEBOL Copa América Femenina and went on to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sport Club Internacional hired Benites in June 2019, and in December 2020, she won the Campeonato Gaúcho. 

Bruna Benites, an Olympic soccer player and Latter-day Saint from Brazil, will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming RootsTech Connect in February 2021.
Bruna Benites, an Olympic soccer player and Latter-day Saint from Brazil, will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming RootsTech Connect in February 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Other keynote speakers for the global event include actor Erick Avari, actress Sunetra Sarker and soccer’s Diego Lugano (announced on Jan. 19), as well as genealogist Sharon Morgan, golf’s Lorena Ochoa, musician Francesco Lotoro and author Nick Vujicic (announced on Nov. 12).

For more information and to register for the free event, visit RootsTech.org.