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Tony Blair to speak at Elgin school

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks Chicago this 2009 file photo. | Getty Images

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks in Chicago in this 2009 file photo. | Getty Images

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Updated: February 23, 2013 6:37AM

For a school with fewer than 1,500 students, Judson University in Elgin attracts some big-name speakers.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will speak this spring at Judson’s third annual World Leaders Forum, following former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who spoke last year, and former President George W. Bush, who spoke at the inaugural forum in 2011.

The school announced Blair’s visit Monday on its website after announcing the news to students and staff that morning in chapel.

The 2013 World Leaders Forum will be April 12, according to the Judson website. It did not note the location of the event, but past forums have been held on the university campus.

The annual event brings recognized world leaders to the Judson campus to “inspire and ignite a flame of leadership for all who attend,” according to the website.

The event also supports the creation of an Entrepreneurship Studies program at the university.

Tickets to this year’s event cost anywhere from $65 for general admission to $2,000 for a VIP reception that will include a photo opportunity with the former prime minister and a private address, “Leadership Insights: Faith, Power and the Post Modern World,” according to the website. That money will go to the university’s Entrepreneurship Studies Endowment Fund and Judson Student Scholarship Fund, it said.

Blair was prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007, serving three terms in office, the website said.

He led public services reform, introduced a national minimum wage, oversaw the London 2012 Games bid and was instrumental in the Northern Ireland peace process.

He also was a strong supporter of the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks and joined the U.S. in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He now works to secure peace in the Middle East, improve governance in Africa and encourage understanding of world faiths, in addition to other causes, according to the Judson website. His best-selling memoir, “A Journey: My Political Life,” was released in September 2010.

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