2012 Recap - The World Leaders Forum | Judson University

WLF 2012 Event Summary

Judson University is proud to have held the second World Leader's Forum, featuring President Mikhail Gorbachev. This annual event brings groups of World Leaders to the campus to inspire leadership for all who attend. 

Nobel Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev Shares leadership Insights at Judson's Second World Leaders Forum

Mikhail Gorbachev at Judson University“I believe in people. In the time of change that is happening everywhere and that has penetrated all countries of the world, I believe change is necessary,” said Nobel Laureate and Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to a full chapel audience at Judson University. “I believe we must make choices. We must address the social problems in the world,” he noted.

Gorbachev’s response was part of the question and answer session during his keynote address at the Christian University’s second annual World Leaders Forum on Saturday, April 21. More than 750 guests convened at the Elgin campus for the VIP reception and keynote in the Betty Lindner Campus Commons and the lecture in Herrick Chapel for Judson students, staff, faculty and alumni.

During his keynote address, titled "Peace in the 21st Century," Gorbachev painted a very bleak picture of life in the Soviet Union when he was young, sharing memories of his early childhood when Germans occupied his village during WWII, and later, the poverty-stricken rural community under the rule of Soviet leaders. His parents were illiterate; his town had no education to offer beyond the eighth grade. Yet, Gorbachev says, he loved to study and so he worked hard to achieve honors at school in a nearby district, and later at Moscow State University where he earned a law degree in 1955.

Gorbachev highlighted the extreme risk that it took to bring about the extreme changes that took place in his time as president of the Soviet Union.

"The Soviet Union needed to start moving toward democracy, freedom, and respecting individuals' rights and religious beliefs. We needed to realize that all these things were absent from us." He explained that it was only through recognizing those key elements of a functioning government that he was able to move his country toward lasting change.

"In America a lot has been done to advance democracy. The laws here really can protect the individual. I do not mean to overpraise you," he said, much to the crowd's amusement, adding that America still faces many problems. To read a full account of the World Leaders Forum, read our full news article posted on April 21.

The university hosted former U.S. President George W. Bush as the keynote speaker for Judson's inaugural World Leaders Forum on April 13, 2011.

Judson University, Shaping Lives that Shape the World