Newt Gingrich, Howard Dean headline Judson's 2018 World Leaders Forum
Gingrich, Dean to headline Judson U. 2018 World Leaders Forum
For the first time, Judson University's seventh annual World Leaders Forum next spring will feature two former presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle sharing the same stage.
Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will headline the April 19 event meant to be "a bipartisan conversation about leadership in divided times."
"In a world that is becoming increasingly politically divided, Judson University is honored to host a conversation highlighting the importance of civility in political discourse," Judson President Gene Crume said.
The World Leaders Forum is Judson's signature fundraising event.
It has featured several former world leaders: former President George W. Bush, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Queen Noor of Jordan.
This year's forum was canceled after Ben Carson bowed out in January and officials were unable to secure another speaker on short notice.
The former Republican presidential candidate was unable to keynote the April 20 event because of his nomination to serve as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
All former American speakers have been conservatives, though college officials have sought out progressive and Democratic candidates.
"That's part of the purpose of the World Leaders Forum to share different voices in global conversations," Crume said.
Crume said with growing ideological divisiveness in Europe and at home, the forum offers an opportunity for a conversation about finding cooperative ways to work together toward "understanding divergent ideologies by fostering respectful dialogue."
The 2018 World Leaders Forum will feature a community event at 2 p.m. at Judson's Herrick Chapel, 1151 N. State St., Elgin, and a VIP reception in Chicago. Both events will include question-and-answer sessions.
The college is inviting local, regional and statewide elected officials for a closed conversation with Gingrich and Dean ahead of the community event.
State Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat representing the 22nd District, and state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, a Republican representing the 33rd District, have accepted.
Gingrich was elected to the U.S. House in 1978 and served until 1999, during which he served as the House minority whip and its 50th speaker.
He was a Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
Today, he is a Fox News contributor, senior adviser at Dentons law firm, and senior scientist with Gallup.
Dean served as the governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003.
He was a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.
He also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009.
Forum proceeds support entrepreneurial programs and initiatives and scholarships at the university.
Tickets to the VIP and community events are available. Judson students, faculty, staff members and alumni will be given first priority.
Community members can purchase tickets starting Nov. 1.
For ticketing and sponsorship information, visit WorldLeadersForum.info.