Faith. Perseverance. Triumph.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Scotsman Eric Liddell’s historic win at the 1924 Olympics, the World Leaders Forum will reflect on Liddell’s life and legacy, which inspired the film “Chariots of Fire.” The World Leaders Forum welcomes Sir James MacMillan and The Lord Smith of Kelvin, KT CH for the official North American celebration of Liddell’s record-setting win. Liddell was an athlete, Christian missionary, and devoted husband and father whose remarkable life has inspired generations. Join us on March 21, 2023, for a dialogue facilitated by the Chicago Scots – an organization formed to promote Scottish culture throughout Chicagoland.

March 21, 2023

Herrick Chapel, Judson University
Elgin, IL

The World Leader Forum speakers celebrated the legacy of Olympian and Christian Missionary Eric Liddell whose feats at the 1924 Paris Olympics inspired the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. Tonight’s discussion, facilitated by the Chicago Scots’ President Gus Noble, was the official North American celebration of the 100th anniversary of this moment. A portion of the proceeds from this event will support The Eric Liddell Community, an Edinburgh care charity and community hub. Read the full story.

World Leaders Forum

2023 Keynote Speaker

Sir James MacMillan

Sir James MacMillan

Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and performs internationally as a conductor. MacMillan first became internationally recognized after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990. His major works include percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received close to 500 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich and five symphonies. Recent major works include his Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie and his Symphony No.5, written for The Sixteen, which was premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival. 

MacMillan enjoys a flourishing career as conductor of his own music alongside a range of contemporary and standard repertoire, praised for the composer’s insight he brings to each score. He has conducted orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. In January 2021 MacMillan conducted the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Dutch premiere of his Christmas Oratorio; later that year the work received its UK premiere with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. MacMillan founded music festival The Cumnock Tryst in October 2014, which takes place annually in his native Ayrshire. MacMillan was awarded a CBE in 2004 and a Knighthood in 2015.

2023 Keynote Speaker

The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT CH

The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT CH 

One of the United Kingdom’s most experienced chairs, Lord Smith has led organizations in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He was the Chair of SSE until July 2015. In 2014, he chaired the Organizing Committee for Glasgow 2014 (Commonwealth Games) and the Smith Commission on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. A chartered accountant by profession and former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, Lord Smith was knighted in 1999, appointed to the House of Lords as an independent cross-bench peer in 2008, appointed Knight of the Thistle in 2013, and awarded the Companion of Honour in 2016. He is currently chair of IMI plc, British Business Bank, Forth Ports Ltd. and the Commonwealth Games Federation Partnership. Additionally, he is Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.

About the Event Organizer

Judson University

Located in Elgin, Illinois, since 1963, Judson University offers a Christian, liberal arts and sciences education through its Bachelor of Arts degrees for more than 60 majors, minors, graduate programs, and online, as well as certification and accelerated adult degree programs. For more information, visit

2023 Event Partner

Eric Liddell Community 100 Logo

The Eric Liddell Community

The Eric Liddell Community is an Edinburgh care charity and community hub founded in 1980, in memory of the inspirational Olympic gold medalist, Eric Liddell, whose win in the 1924 Paris Olympics was the subject of the film “Chariots of Fire.” The Mission of The Eric Liddell Community is to bring people together in their local communities to enhance health and wellbeing and have a positive impact on their lives. For more information, visit

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

Gen. David Petraeus

david petraeus

Retired U.S. General

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Julie Schmidt
Dir. of WLF and Special Events