Author Talk: ‘Sipping Dom Pérignon Through a Straw’
In this talk inspired by his debut memoir, global humanitarian Eddie Ndopu speaks to being both profoundly disabled and profoundly successful without trading one for the other. With warmth, humor, grit, and clarity, Eddie shares his remarkable journey – a story not just about finding his path to success but opening the door of inclusion for others.
Climate Change, Disability, and Inclusivity
Award-winning and internationally acclaimed humanitarian, storyteller, public intellectual, and disability practitioner Eddie Ndopu is a global changemaker and leader in climate change, disability, and inclusivity. Disabled people will be disproportionately affected by climate change, and must be recognized, as Ndopu says, “not just for our plight, but for our power. Disability is a language of innovation, we have the answers, so include us in this fight” for sustainability on our planet. Only through concrete actions, unity, and intersectional approaches to sustainability can we create a future full of hope.
Disability Justice: Our Power
Award-winning and internationally acclaimed humanitarian, storyteller, public intellectual, and disability practitioner Eddie Ndopu is a thought leader and advocate for social equity, sustainability, and disability-based innovation. Ndopu says, “We are some of the planet’s most vulnerable citizens, and some of the most resilient.” He is a highly in-demand speaker for his insights about the intersections of disability and sustainability, and how we can move past accessibility toward true inclusion in our communities, organizations, and the world.
Global humanitarian Eddie Ndopu’s debut memoir ‘Sipping Dom Pérignon Through a Straw’ is about being both profoundly disabled and profoundly successful without trading one for the other
Ndopu’s highly-anticipated debut memoir Sipping Dom Pérignon Through a Straw (due out August 1st, 2023 by Hachette) is receiving advance praise. Oscar winner Forest Whitaker has called it “essential reading,” praising Ndopu as “a masterful writer poised for even more great success.” Primed with a razor-sharp narrative, this book is Ndopu’s remarkable journey to resist being sidelined by ableism and open the door of inclusion for others.
Global humanitarian Eddie Ndopu was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a rare degenerative motor neuron disease affecting his mobility. Yet – he thrived. Ndopu was ecstatic to be accepted on a full scholarship into one of the world's most prestigious schools, Oxford University. But he soon learns that it's not just the medical community he must thwart — it's the educational one too.
Written with his one good finger, Sipping Dom Pérignon Through a Straw is an exquisitely rendered narrative that delivers a blaring clarion call to disabled achievers and other underdogs everywhere to stop climbing mountains and start moving them instead.
Featured in a profile by TIME, Ndopu receives rave reviews after speaking events, and is sought-after for keynotes and conversations at venues such as Facebook, Amazon, Discovery Health, the COP26 Climate Change Summit, The World Economic Forum, and Salesforce’s Dreamforce event, where he was described as, “one of the most powerful voices on the planet right now.”
Global humanitarian Eddie Ndopu is “mind-blowingly amazing” as a moderator and keynote for Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook, and more
Described by TIME Magazine as “one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet,” EDDIE NDOPU has offered profoundly insightful remarks – and brought engaging humor – to some of the world’s biggest stages. Perhaps best known for his human rights advocacy, Eddie has worked for more than a decade to advance disability justice at the forefront of the international development agenda. The rave reviews for Eddie’s speaking engagements encompass the private sector – Facebook called him “the most extraordinary speaker” and Discovery Health called his program “a paradigm shift” – but also world leaders. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser describes Ndopu as “one of the most gifted speakers in the world,” and President Barack Obama considers him “an icon in the making.”
Eddie has astounded audiences as both keynote speaker and a moderator, and the glowing praise he receives is consistent. When he headlined Amazon’s Global Accessibility Awareness Month, the host shared that he was “mind-blowingly amazing.” He has also headlined the BBC’s Reframing Disability Festival, keynoted for the Global Goals Studio’s Davos Dialogues, gave the Kapuscinski Development Lecture at Columbia University, and spoke to the Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghau University, who raved that it was “a life changing experience.” When Eddie joined Salesforce/Dreamforce for a compelling moderated conversation, the host offered this glowing review: “One of the most powerful voices on the planet right now.” The continuous stream of overwhelmingly positive feedback makes Eddie an in-demand presence for transformative events.
Speaker Spotlight: Eddie Ndopu
It is difficult to describe the full spectrum of all that EDDIE NDOPU encompasses. He describes himself as a queer, Black, disabled individual, fighting for social equity and the environment. He’s a renowned disability justice practitioner; on the board of Imagine, an organization helping businesses contribute net positively to the environment and social justice issues; a member of the United Nations Sustained Development Goal committee; Founder of A Billion Reasons in partnership with the World Economic Forum; and now writing his first book, a memoir, titled “Sipping Dom Perignon Through a Straw.” He has thrived in the face of a diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) at two years old, at which time his family was told he only had a few years left to live. As an adult living a full, purpose-driven life, Ndopu inspires us to reach beyond the limitations others may see in us and live boldly and joyously.
Ndopu always receives rave reviews after his speaking events, such as Facebook who called him “the most extraordinary speaker,” Amazon who shared that he was “mind-blowingly amazing,” at Salesforce’s Dreamforce event he was described as “one of the most powerful voices on the planet right now,” Discovery Health called him “a paradigm shift,” and he’s spoken at the COP26 Climate Change Summit, Davos for the World Economic Forum, the GlobalCitizen Summit, and elsewhere. He’s been called “an icon in the making” by President Barack Obama and “one of the most gifted speakers in the world” by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. Ndopu is an animated, dynamic speaker audiences never forget.
Described by TIME Magazine as “one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet,” Eddie Ndopu is perhaps best known for his human rights advocacy with respect to advancing disability justice at the forefront of the international development agenda.
Working alongside world leaders such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, Eddie actively champions climate justice, fights global poverty and demands equity for the world’s most marginalized segments of society in his capacity as one of the UN Secretary-General’s 17 official advocates for the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
In recognition of Eddie’s career as a global humanitarian, which spans more than a decade, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award and the UN’s Global Partnership Award jointly presented to him by the Republic of South Africa and the United Nations.
Eddie serves on several global Boards, including as a member of the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation. He also sits on the advisory boards of The Valuable 500, IMAGINE and Verizon’s Global Advisory Board for Accessibility and Disability Inclusion. He formerly served as a member of both the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council for the New Agenda for Social Justice and the World Economic Forum’s Partnering for Racial Justice in Business Initiative.
Eddie’s debut memoir, SIPPING DOM PERIGNON THROUGH A STRAW, which chronicles his challenging experience as a disabled student attending Oxford University, is slated for global release in the spring of 2023.