America is losing its status as a world power with a loss of its economic, educational and moral leadership, according to Darien author Robert L. Dilenschneider, who has written a dozen books on leadership and power.

Dilenschneider, founder of The Dilenschneider Group, a strategic communications consulting firm, will deliver the keynote address at an annual breakfast for business leaders and professionals at Fairfield University Sunday, Nov. 7.

Pointing to the crisis in education, he said, "Our global competitors are building schools and universities that support the skill sets of the 21st century. America no longer has a monopoly on the great institutions of higher education, and our school system no longer better prepares for the future than our competitors."

The nation's high school dropout rate stands at 25 percent -- one out of every four students fails to graduate, he said. For African-American, Hispanic and low income students, the rate is 40 percent. The high school graduation rate for some of the nation's largest cities is 53 percent, and about 7,000 students drop out of high school every day.

Dilenschneider says American youth are losing their ability to communicate and that "Technology, for all its benefits, has resulted in code speak --Twitter, text messaging, and e-mail."

The implications of America's moral decline are also disturbing, Dilenschneider said, citing a recent poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion that shows more than half of young people ages 19 to 29 do not have confidence in America's leaders and almost two-thirds believe the country is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to values.

Before Dilenschneider's talk, William Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, will celebrate mass at 9 a.m. in Fairfield University's Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola. The mass will then be followed by the breakfast in the Oak Room, in the Barone Campus Center on the Fairfield campus, where Dilenschneider will speak. Open to the public, seating for the event is limited. Individual tickets are $45. To register online, visit www.fairfield.edu/commbkfst10. For more information, contact Cindy Russo at 203-254-4000, ext. 2927, or e-mail crusso@fairfield.edu.

The event is co-sponsored by Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life and the Fairfield County Chapter of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, a lay-led Vatican organization founded by Pope John Paul II for education and evangelization of Catholic social doctrine through business, professional and academic leaders.

Dilenschneider has been a public relations professional for more than 40 years. Experienced in a number of communications disciplines, he is frequently called upon by the media to provide commentary and strategic public relations insights on major news stories. He has counseled major corporations, professional groups, trade associations and educational institutions, and has assisted clients in dealings with regulatory agencies, labor unions, consumer groups, minorities, and others.

In October 1991, he founded The Dilenschneider Group, which provides communications services in fields ranging from mergers and acquisitions, and crisis communications to marketing, government affairs and international media.

For more information visit /www.capp-usa.com or www.fairfield.edu.