On Tuesday, February 3, Seton Hall students, faculty and community
members filled the Walsh Gymnasium to hear an address by former British
Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Thank you so much,” he said in response to
a standing ovation, “That's not what I'm used to.”
Sheeran, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Ambassador John Menzies.
View images from the event on the Flickr
Mr. Blair came to speak as part of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and
International Relation's World Leaders Forum. The program, which
has brought leaders such as Shimon Peres, Mikhail Gorbachev, Kofi
Annan, and Lech Walesa to campus, is designed to promote discussion on
critical global issues.
Throughout his address, Mr. Blair asserted that cooperation was the
solution to the world's three toughest challenges: the economy, the
environment and security. He said that people must work together, “not
just in traditional alliances, but in ones that bring together the
developed and developing world”.
Mr. Blair stated that there is “virtually nothing more important” for
President Barack Obama than to “get the right strategic alliance with
China." On the environment, he said, "If we shut down the whole of the
U.K. tomorrow so we had zero emissions, the growth in China would make
up for it in 18 months; their population would grow by more than the
whole of Britain's in 18 months."
He also warned that the United States must be wary of the entire Middle
East, noting that there is “nothing more urgent” than resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict to achieve peace in the region. Suggesting
an alternative to a purely military-solution, Mr. Blair said that:
"This security threat cannot be dealt with by conventional means." Mr.
Blair is currently a special envoy to the Quartet, an international
effort to secure peace in the Middle East.
Mr. Blair urged students to adopt a set of “global values” that
includes a belief in
Tony Blair with
students from the Whitehead School of Diplomacy. Check out the Flickr
Gallery from the event.
freedom, democracy, justice, and the power of community. He claimed
that values are the only way our world can go forward. “It's not simply
the sense of wanting to assume responsibility. It's a belief there is
something more important than ourselves."
He ended his speech on an optimistic note, acknowledging that although
the 21st century was a time of great challenges, it was also a time of
“hope and possibility”. The audience responded with a warm standing
After taking questions from the audience, Mr. Blair met with a group of
Whitehead students for an informal discussion. Before sitting down, he
made sure to go around the room and shake hands with each individual.
One student asked about the influence of faith on his work. Mr. Blair
replied that as a public servant, he wouldn't “leave the room” to ask
God if he should vote for “this or that” but that having faith gave him
“serenity” even while making tough decisions.
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