Former Prime Minister of Norway to Give Stevenson Lecture on April 13

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The Honorable Gro Brundtland

Feb. 16, 2017   

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The Honorable Gro Brundtland, the first female prime minister of Norway and a former director-general of the World Health Organization, will present the 31st address in the Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series. Brundtland’s address, “Our Common Future: Sustainable Development and Addressing Climate Change,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 13 at Westbrook Auditorium on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University (rescheduled from an earlier date due to illness). It is free and open to the public.

Educated and trained in Norway as a physician, Brundtland also earned a Master of Public Health degree at Harvard University. She served five years as Norway’s Minister of the Environment before becoming the first woman prime minister of Norway. She ultimately served three terms (1981, 1986-1989, 1990-1996). In her second term, her cabinet of eight women and nine men represented the highest level of gender equality in history.

In the mid-1980s, Brundtland chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development, widely referred to as the Brundtland Commission, which popularized the concept of sustainable development in its report, “Our Common Future.”

In the late 1990s Bruntland was elected director-general of the World Health Organization  (WHO). Under her leadership, WHO confronted the global threat of the SARS virus, intensified the debate on global health as key to economic development, and began programs to curb malaria, tobacco usage, tuberculosis and AIDS.

Her numerous awards and honors include the 1988 Third World Prize for leadership on sustainable development, the Indira Gandhi Prize 1989, the International Environment Prize from the City of Göteborg in Sweden, and Scientific American’s “Policy Leader of the Year” for initiating and coordinating a rapid worldwide response to SARS.

The Stevenson Lecture Series was established by a group of local civic leaders to honor the legacy of Bloomington native Adlai E. Stevenson II, former governor of Illinois and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, after his death in 1965. The series is co-hosted by Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan.

This academic year, the lecture series will feature two distinguished speakers. Former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón will speak at Illinois Wesleyan on March 23.