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Former prime minister of Norway to present Stevenson Lecture

Image of Gro Brundtland

Gro Brundtland

The Honorable Gro Brundtland, the first female prime minister of Norway and a former director-general of the World Health Organization, will give a talk as part of 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 Thursday, April 13, at Westbrook Auditorium on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University. It is free and open to the public. There will be a master class for the University communities at 3 p.m. that same day in the Bone Student Center Prairie South Room on the Illinois State University campus.

Educated and trained in Norway as a physician, Brundtland also earned a master’s degree in public health from 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 use, tuberculosis, and AIDS.

Her numerous awards and honors include the 1988 Third World Prize for leadership on sustainable development, the Indira Gandhi Prize in 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.


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