Judson kicks off new inspirational world leaders series this fall

 
 
Updated 3/27/2015 6:22 PM
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  • Nick Vujicic, a Serbian Australian evangelist who was born without limbs, gives a speech to a crowd of about 25,000 students and young people at My Dinh national stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2013. Vujicic will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series this fall.

    Nick Vujicic, a Serbian Australian evangelist who was born without limbs, gives a speech to a crowd of about 25,000 students and young people at My Dinh national stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2013. Vujicic will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series this fall. ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Nick Vujicic, a Serbian Australian evangelist who was born without limbs, gives a speech to a crowd of about 25,000 students and young people at My Dinh national stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2013. Vujicic, who is able to stand up and move around on his pelvis, will speak Oct. 12 at Judson University in Elgin.

    Nick Vujicic, a Serbian Australian evangelist who was born without limbs, gives a speech to a crowd of about 25,000 students and young people at My Dinh national stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2013. Vujicic, who is able to stand up and move around on his pelvis, will speak Oct. 12 at Judson University in Elgin. ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Nick Vujicic will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series starting this fall.

    Nick Vujicic will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series starting this fall. Courtesy of Judson University

  • Evangelist Nick Vujicic visits his former school in Australia. He will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series kicking off Oct. 12.

    Evangelist Nick Vujicic visits his former school in Australia. He will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series kicking off Oct. 12. Courtesy of Life Without Limbs

  • Evangelist Nick Vujicic, seen here surfing in Hawaii, will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series this fall.

    Evangelist Nick Vujicic, seen here surfing in Hawaii, will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series this fall. Courtesy of Life Without Limbs

  • Evangelist Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, is seen here pushing a baby stroller. He will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series beginning Oct. 12.

    Evangelist Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, is seen here pushing a baby stroller. He will be the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series beginning Oct. 12. Courtesy of Life Without Limbs

Born without arms and legs, Serbian Australian evangelist Nick Vujicic will share how he overcame his physical challenges through faith as the inaugural speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series launching this fall.

Vujicic will speak the evening of Oct. 12 at Judson's Elgin campus. Tickets go on sale May 2. The Inspirational Series will be more affordable than the World Leaders Forum so it can appeal to a larger audience.

"Most of these (inspirational) speakers are going to be professional speakers, business leaders," Judson President Gene Crume said.

The Christian liberal arts university is building on the success of its World Leaders Forum that in five years has brought former President George W. Bush, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and, earlier this month, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón to Elgin.

"A lot of the idea was rooted in the positive impact the World Leaders Forum has had on the community of Elgin," Crume said. "The fact that we can take our community around the world is a neat thing."

Crume said officials wanted the inspirational series to draw that same caliber of speakers with a different purpose.

"With the World Leaders Forum, we've had a really neat diversity of political backgrounds," Crume said. "We want that same inspiration of diversity reflected in these speakers. Some of the speakers may be an extension of Judson's faith identity; they may be community activists, civil rights leaders. We want some of that breadth of inspiration to be a part of this series. That's why Nick Vujicic, we thought, would be a great way to kick off the series. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Plus, he's got the cool Australian accent."

Vujicic, 33, refuses to let his physical condition limit his lifestyle. Throughout childhood he struggled with depression and loneliness. He credits his faith in God for giving him the strength to deal with those challenges and for his passion for life, according to his website.

Since giving his first inspirational speech at age 19, Vujicic has shared his story with millions worldwide. He currently is on a world tour of 24 countries in a year. The entire series is available for viewing on YouTube.

Vujicic established an international nonprofit ministry, Life Without Limbs, in 2005. He also is an author, musician and actor, and he likes to fish, paint and swim. He now lives in Southern California, according to his website.

Crume said he has been following Vujicic for about eight years and often uses him as an example in his leadership presentations and classes.

He said he was struck by one of Vujicic's talks in which he spoke about being worried whether he could get married and hold his wife's hand. "But then I realized I don't have to hold her hand, I have to hold her heart," Crume said, quoting Vujicic.

"That was one of those powerful moments that just kind of stops you in your tracks," Crume said. "Just imagining someone who was born without arms and legs and what he was able to accomplish. That's remarkable."

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