Britain's former PM charts course to Greencastle

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tony Blair, who served as prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from May 1997 through June 2007, will come to the campus of DePauw University on March 3 to deliver a Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture. Blair's speech will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lilly Center's Neal Fieldhouse (702 S. College Avenue). Like all Ubben Lectures, the event will be free and open to all.

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and no tickets will be distributed.

Mr. Blair becomes the fifth former prime minister of Britain to speak at DePauw. Harold Macmillan, whose grandfather was a graduate of Indiana Asbury, provided the 1958 commencement address. Harold Wilson presented a 1981 talk. The Ubben Lecture Series presented Margaret Thatcher in 1992 and John Major in 2001.

"I think I spoke for millions when I said at Cabinet today that Tony Blair's achievements are unique, unprecedented and enduring," said Gordon Brown, who succeeded Blair as prime minister, after Blair announced on May 10, 2007 he would be stepping aside.

Tony Blair was also the leader of Britain's Labour Party (1994-2007) and the member of Parliament for Sedgefield, England (1983-2007). He is currently serving as the Middle East Quartet Representative. The Quartet is made up of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

During his ten years as prime minister, Blair transformed Britain's public services through a program of investment and reform in schools and hospitals, resulting in more children achieving better school results and more people receiving faster access to health care, with improved survival rates for cancer and coronary heart disease.

In the United States, Blair received widespread recognition for his support for America after the tragedies of September 11, 2001.

"He is a political figure who is capable of thinking over the horizon," President George W. Bush has said. "He's a long-term thinker. I have found him to be a man who's kept his word which is sometimes rare in the political circles I run in."

Blair has always been a strong advocate of a values-based, activist and multilateralist foreign policy -- an agenda that combined tackling terrorism and intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Sierra Leone, with action on issues like climate change, global poverty, Africa and the Middle East Peace Process.

Blair is also widely credited for his contribution towards assisting the Northern Ireland Peace Process by helping jointly to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement and deliver a power-sharing government.

"I have always done what I thought was right," Tony Blair stated as he announced his plans to leave the prime minister's post. "There is only one government since 1945 that can say all of the following: more jobs, fewer unemployed, better health and education results, lower crime and economic growth in every quarter. Only one government, this one."

Created by a gift by 1958 DePauw graduates Tim and Sharon Ubben, the Ubben Lecture Series has brought distinguished individuals to the Greencastle campus since 1986.

This academic year has included appearances by PostSecret founder Frank Warren in November and Ralph Nader in September.

Other past Ubben Lecturers have included: Mikhail Gorbachev, Benazir Bhutto, Gen. Colin Powell, Shimon Peres, E.O. Wilson, Robert Gates, Hotel Rwanda's Paul Rusesabagina, Elie Wiesel, L. Paul Bremer, Jim Lovell, Eric Schlosser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Naomi Wolf, Jesse Jackson, Tom Wicker, Spike Lee, Mike Krzyzewski, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jesse Jackson, General Wesley Clark, ice cream entrepreneurs Ben & Jerry, Peyton Manning, Willy Brandt, Paul Tsongas, Mitch Albom, Lynne Cheney and Harry Belafonte.

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  • no one's gonna touch this one?

    -- Posted by strings on Tue, Jan 15, 2008, at 5:26 PM
  • I'm looking forward to it. At what time will the doors open?

    -- Posted by Travis on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 8:01 AM
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