JACKSON, Tenn. – March 31, 2011 – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be the keynote speaker for Union University’s 14th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 3 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tenn.
“In recent years Mr. Blair has become one of the most admired men in the world with his many efforts to promote good will through numerous means such as his faith foundation, his sports foundation, his charitable work and many other laudable efforts,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “The Union community will be pleased once again to bring a major world leader to West Tennessee.”
Blair served as prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997-2007. He was also the leader of Great Britain’s Labour Party from 1994-2007 and the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, England, from 1983-2007.
During his 10 years as prime minister, Blair transformed Britain’s public services through a program of investment and reform in schools and hospitals, resulting in more children achieving better school results and more people receiving faster access to health care, with improved survival rates for cancer and coronary heart disease.
Blair is also widely credited for his contribution towards assisting the Northern Ireland Peace Process by helping jointly to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement and deliver a power-sharing government.
Since the end of his tenure, Blair has continued to be active in public life, especially relating to the Middle East. Blair currently serves as the Quartet Representative for the United States, United Nations, Russia and European Union, working with the Palestinians to prepare for statehood as part of the international community’s effort to secure peace.
He founded the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to promote respect and understanding between the major religions and makes the case for faith as a force for good in the modern world. Blair also continues to advocate for Africa, and his Africa Governance Initiative delivers projects in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
In recognition of his debt to the North East of England, Blair has launched The Tony Blair Sports Foundation to increase opportunities for young people to participate in sports.
Blair’s memoir, “A Journey: My Political Life,” was released in September 2010 and made The New York Times Best Seller list within a week of its release.
The annual Scholarship Banquet has become one of the premier events in West Tennessee each year, and is Union’s primary fund raising event for its student scholarship fund. Previous speakers have included George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, Mikhail Gorbachev, Laura Bush, Rudolph Giuliani and Colin Powell, among others.
All told, Union’s Scholarship Banquets have generated more than $5 million for student scholarships.
This year’s lead and premier sponsors include BancorpSouth, Keith and Beverly Absher, Roy and Martha White, First Bank, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Jack and Faye Porter, West Tennessee Healthcare, Northwestern Mutual/Rod and Amy Parker, Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf, Thad and Alicia Smotherman, Lloyd and Martha Hansen, Impact 360/John and Trudy (Cathy) White, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Harry and Beth Smith and David and Lanese Dockery.
Sponsorship opportunities are available at all levels. For ticket information, including table sponsorships and individual balcony seating, contact Union’s Office of University Relations at (731) 661-5050.