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Friday, December 2, 2011

Tony Blair: Open-minded View of Culture and Faith Critical to Achieving Peace

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a familiar figure on campus, returned to Yale on Dec. 2 to speak to the Yale Law School community and invited guests about faith, globalization, security, and constitutional reform in Great Britain, among other topics.

Blair, who has spoken at Yale before and who co-taught a course on faith and globalization with Divinity Professor Miroslav Volf, was delivering the Law School’s annual Judge Jon O. Newman Lecture on Global Justice.

Dean Robert Post ’77 introduced Blair as one of the most significant statesmen of our era. "The defining quality of his leadership," said Dean Post, "is that he is a master of finding common ground." Following a few minutes of remarks, Blair sat down with the Dean for an hour-long Q&A, in which he reflected on faith and globalization and called for an open-minded view of the world that sees globalization as an opportunity rather than a threat. He said that understanding culture and religion is critically important to achieving peace. “There is a world of enormous opportunity, but it will belong to the open-minded,” he said.

Tony Blair was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. In 2008, he helped launch the Initiative on Faith and Globalization at Yale, a three-year collaboration among the Divinity School, the School of Management, and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the organization he founded to promote understanding among the major faiths.