World Leaders Forum

World Leaders Forum 2021

Igniting a Flame of Leadership

The World Leaders Forum Returned This Fall with General David H. Petraeus

On November 5, 2021, the World Leaders Forum was headlined by foreign policy expert and retired General David Petraeus. Notably serving as commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and later director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Petraeus is among the most recognized military leaders of the post-9/11 era. The decorated general shared insights from his 37-year career in the U.S. military. The discussion was moderated by distinguished Judson University alumnus Mark Vargas, who met the general while serving as a civilian in Iraq during his tenure.

About the Event

2021 Event Recap

Gen. David Petraeus Shares Nonpartisan Leadership Perspective at World Leaders Forum 10th Anniversary

Retired Gen. David Petraeus shared insights from his decorated 37-year military career and unique nonpartisan point of view during Judson University’s World Leaders Forum Friday night in Schaumburg. Petraeus marked the 10th anniversary of Judson’s speaker series, held annually to inspire the next generation of leaders and give the greater Chicago community access to prominent global leaders.

2021 Keynote Speaker

Retired Gen. David Petraeus

General David H. Petraeus served more than 37 years in the U.S. military, concluding his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat, including command of coalition forces during the surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in the military, Petraeus served as the director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the global war on terror. He currently serves as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, an arm of the global investment firm KKR. He is an honorary professor of the University of Birmingham in England and is a board member of the Institute for the Study of War, the Atlantic Council and more than a dozen veterans service organizations.

Petraeus has received numerous U.S. military, State Department, NATO, and United Nations medals and awards, including four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Combat Action Badge, the Ranger tab, and master parachutist wings, and he has been decorated by 13 foreign countries.

Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy and subsequently earned a doctorate in an interdisciplinary program of international relations and economics from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

2021 Interviewer

Mark Vargas

Distinguished Judson University alumnus Mark Vargas ’04 is a trusted adviser and close confidante to some of the most high profile political and business leaders in America. His work as a tech entrepreneur in health care and political opinion writer have been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, Huffington Post and Fox News Channel. From 2014-2016, Mr. Vargas was a principal at a government and public affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. where he advised both individuals and organizations on issue advocacy and message development; crisis preparedness and management; media relations and government affairs.

Past Speakers

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

43rd President of
the United States

Mikhail Gorbachev

Former President of
the Soviet Union

Tony Blair

Tony Blair

Former British
Prime Minister

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice

Former United States
Secretary of State

Felipe Calderon

Felipe Calderón

56th President
of Mexico

Queen Noor

Queen Noor

Queen Noor Al-Hussein
of Jordan

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker
of the House

Howard Dean

Howard Dean

Former Vermont

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy

Former U.S. Ambassador
to Japan


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Julie Schmidt
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