Neftalie Williams is the first lecturer of skateboarding business, media, and culture in the United States. He lectures and conducts research at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles, California and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Excerpts from Neftalie’s forthcoming work, Colour in the Lines: Understanding the African American and US Minority Experience in Skateboarding Culture has been presented in the UK, CA and the US.
Neftalie is currently research partner in the USC x Tony Hawk Foundation project, Skateboarding Schools and Society Study. This project is the first of it’s kind to study the impact skateboarding has on young people and their educational and career trajectories.
Neftalie is a current fellow of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society (AISMS) and former fellow of the LA84 Foundation. A graduate from the U.S.C. Master of Public Diplomacy program, his work analyzes the effects of globalization on issues of diversity, identity, and youth empowerment, using the lens of emerging sport culture. Known as the ‘Skateboarding Ambassador’ Neftalie introduced the concept of skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy in both theory and practice. Neftalie’s theories identify how these emerging sports practitioners act as global ambassadors, providing the blueprint for a unified youth community across race, and ethnic divides.
Neftalie’s research work aided him in becoming the first academic and skateboarding envoy for the United States. In the Netherlands, his role was part of broader efforts to integrate Syrian refugees into life in Europe. Working most recently with the US Embassy in Phnom Phen, Cambodia, Neftalie built partnerships between the local academic community, Cambodian skateboarders and cultural institutions as well as the Asian Skateboarding Championships.
As Chairman of Cuba Skate, Neftalie and the Cuba Skate team, created cultural exchanges between communities in Cuba and the U.S.
Neftalie is currently Co-Chairman of the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (CSEF), a non-profit dedicated to creating scholarships for young skateboarders in pursuit of higher education.
Neftalie's event, "The Nation Skate" explores the relationship between skateboarding and academia and cultural institutions, through a series of panels, lectures, skateboarding demonstrations and photography.
In 2016, Neftalie received the 2016 USC Black Alumni Award for his pioneering work using skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy.
Neftalie’s scholarly, instructional, research and media work on skateboarding’s transnational community and other photographic endeavors has been featured domestically and internationally in various outlets including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, N.Y. Times, the L.A. Times, The BBC, VOA, The Ford Theater, Epóca Magazine, The Kennedy Center, Public Diplomacy Magazine, UVU, The Hinckley Institute, ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports, Time out-Chicago, Transworld Skateboarding, Transworld Business, The Swiss Art Space, G-Shock, the Guinness Book of World Records, Angeleno Magazine, the Robb report, Vapors Magazine, Color Magazine, YRB, Line-Up and FTK Magazines among others.