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Former prime minister Blair to speak at Judson

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks Chicago this 2009 file photo. | Getty Images

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks in Chicago in this 2009 file photo. | Getty Images

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Updated: February 23, 2013 6:24AM

ELGIN — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will speak this spring at Judson University’s third-annual World Leaders Forum.

That news was posted Monday on Judson’s website after it was announced to students and staff that morning in chapel, a day before the private Christian university had planned to publicly announce the keynote speaker for this year’s forum.

Blair will follow Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, who spoke last year; and former President George W. Bush, who spoke at the inaugural forum in 2011.

The 2013 World Leaders Forum will be April 12, according to the Judson website. It did not note the location of the event, but past forums have been held on the university campus at 1151 N. State St. (Route 31).

The annual event brings recognized world leaders to the Judson campus to “inspire and ignite a flame of leadership for all who attend,” according to the website.

The event also supports the creation of an Entrepreneurship Studies program at the university.

Tickets to this year’s event cost anywhere from $65 for general admission to $2,000 for a VIP reception that will include a photo opportunity with the former prime minister and a private address, “Leadership Insights: Faith, Power and the Post Modern World,” according to the website. That money will go to the university’s Entrepreneurship Studies Endowment Fund and Judson Student Scholarship Fund, it said.

Blair was prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007, serving a historic three terms in office, the website said.

He led public services reform, introduced a national minimum wage, oversaw the London 2012 Games bid, and was instrumental in the Northern Ireland peace process, it said.

He also was a strong supporter of the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks and joined the U.S. in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He now works to secure peace in the Middle East, improve governance in Africa and encourage understanding of world faiths, in addition to other causes, according to the Judson website. His best-selling memoir, “A Journey: My Political Life,” was released in September 2010.

Judson officials told The Courier-News Monday they will release further details to the public about the forum on Tuesday.

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