“We are reaping the consequences of a strategy that is not conducive to cooperation and partnership, to living in a new global situation,” said Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union, to a crowd of 3,600 on Oct. 19 in the Allan P. Kirby Field House and many others via a live streaming broadcast in 13 locations from coast to coast, including northern Mexico. “People are asking ‘why do our leaders want to decide everything at the expense of the people?’”
Gorbachev was referring to the series of uprisings around the world including the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations here in the United States. “The world needs goals that will bring people together,” he said. “Some people in the United States were pushing the idea of creating a global American empire, and that was a mistake from the start. Other people in America are now giving thought to the future of their country. The big banks, the big corporations, are still paying the same big bonuses to their bosses. Was there ever a crisis for them? . . . I believe America needs its own perestroika.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union who ended Communist rule in Eastern Europe and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, will deliver a major address titled “Perspectives on Global Change” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Allan P. Kirby Sports Center, followed by a question-and-answer session.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are required to attend the address. The supply of tickets, which are free of charge, is now exhausted. Alumni gatherings will feature a live streaming of President Gorbachev’s address. To attend one of the live streaming events, please click here to register.
Gorbachev’s visit to Lafayette celebrates the creation of a new center for global education made possible by the support of Walter Oechsle ’57 and his wife, Christa.
Joshua Sanborn, professor of history and chair of Russian and East European Studies, presented a lecture Oct. 3 entitled “Mikhail Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War” to prepare the community and students for the former Soviet president’s visit to campus Wednesday, Oct. 19.
During his talk in the Williams Center for the Arts, Sanborn called Gorbachev one of the most significant political figures in world history and credited him with ending the Cold War.
“He did more than any other individual to bring the conflict to an end,” he said.
Sanborn discussed Gorbachev’s rise in the Communist Party and his policies of glasnost (political openness) and perestroika (governmental and political restructuring), as well as his initiation of radical arms reduction talks with U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Although he was adored by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and trusted by Reagan, his popularity in his own country waned, and in 1991 he was overthrown in a coup by Communist hardliners. He was restored to power, but resigned shortly after.
Joshua Sanborn, professor of history and chair of Russian and East European Studies, will speak on “Mikhail Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War” at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 in the auditorium of the Williams Center for the Arts. The talk is free and open to the public.
Sanborn will briefly discuss Gorbachev’s personal history and his rise up the ladder of the Communist Party before turning to his actions as the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Continue reading →