University of Phoenix brings notable leaders to speakers’ series
President Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former head of state for Russia, will speak on April 26 in Chicago as part of the University of Phoenix Leadership Circle speaker series.
"Speakers like President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who spoke at the first Leadership Circle, bring inspiration, enlightenment and a sense of what is possible," says Dr. Bill Pepicello, president of the University. "And while not all of us are on a global stage, we can all be game changers — in our own lives and in the lives of those around us."
President Gorbachev rose to greatness from humble beginnings. The son of Ukrainian migrant workers, Gorbachev grew up in a tiny farming village in the Soviet interior and spent his teen years running combine harvesters. He obtained a law degree from Moscow State University and joined the Soviet Communist Party as a young man. He rose quickly through the ranks there, eventually becoming General Secretary of the Soviet Union. In addition to introducing glasnost and perestroika to the West, his aggressive reforms helped bring an end to Communist rule in Eastern Europe.
Great leaders understand that making positive change requires taking risks. President Mikhail Gorbachev spent his political career proving it. His policies of glasnost (meaning openness) and perestroika (or restructuring) revived a stagnant Soviet economy in the mid-1980s and transformed the Soviet Union's relationship with the world.
"President Gorbachev is someone who worked his way through the Communist party, using his leadership position as a platform to build a more progressive government and to foster improved relations with the West, which eventually resulted in a transformation of Eastern Europe," says Gina Sponzilli, JD.
As senior director of Strategic Relationships and Initiatives for Apollo Group External Relations, Sponzilli coordinates the Leadership Circle series, held exclusively for the University of Phoenix community. Events follow a structured Q&A format, giving attendees an opportunity to pose questions to President Gorbachev.
"The Leadership Circle furthers the University's goal of providing a 21st-century education to prepare the next generation of 21st-century leaders," Sponzilli says. "What better way to do that than to bring President Gorbachev, one of the most transformative world leaders of the past 50 years, to speak in person with our community?"
Are you a member of the University of Phoenix community? Register now to hear President Gorbachev speak live in Chicago or to watch a live broadcast of the event.