Universidad Europea de Madrid was proud to welcome former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to its Villaviciosa de Odon Campus. UEM is the third member of Laureate International Universities that Mr. Blair has visited, following his participation in the 2009 Campus Symposium at BiTS in Iserlohn, Germany and a visit to Universidade Anhembi Morumbi in Sao Paulo, Brazil in October 2010. During his visit to UEM, Mr. Blair spoke about the challenges and opportunities facing our globalized world and analyzed the different economic and political forces that will shape the world following the global financial crisis as well as the impact these changes will have on the future of business.
Blair referred to the world we live in as interdependent and forward moving. He insisted we have to assume that neither the U.S. nor Europe will lead the world in the future, but that power will have to be shared with countries like China and Brazil. During the financial crisis, Blair emphasized that governments and citizens had to react quickly and were forced to make many decisions, decisions that would not have been necessary without the crisis, but that have nonetheless changed the global balance of power.
Known as a great European leader, the former British Prime Minister also spoke about Europe's current situation and how this has changed as well as the impact this change will have on lifestyles and the role of governments in the future. According to Mr. Blair, the priority of the founders of the European Union's priority was peace. This focus shifted as the population no longer feels the threat of war and has been replaced by their perceived loss of economic and political power in the global context. In this sense, Blair believes that Europe should cooperate with emerging countries and leverage accumulated European resources to build capacity in strategic areas like defense, R&D, energy and education. On the situation in the Middle East, Blair said that Europe can't be a spectator and must play a direct role because events there are impacting the entire world. He also stated it was necessary to renew the peace process to win the great battle being waged to create a democratic and liberal world. The former British Prime Minister concluded his speech with a positive message, urging the audience to be ready for continued change as the world is full of opportunities and people need to adapt to be ready for it.
The speech was webcast live to several Laureate International Universities member institutions and was attended in person by Esperanza Aguirre, President of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, as well as many members of the UEM community including Miguel Carmelo, President of UEM and the Mediterranean Region of Laureate International Universities, and Agueda Benito, UEM's Rector.