Dr. Gro Brundtland, Former Head of WHO and Prime Minister of Norway, to Be Global Studies Fellow at Center for Global Initiatives

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 11:10

Dr. Gro Brundtland will deliver lecture on "Global Health Threats: Problems, Politics, and Policies" Thursday, October 27

For Immediate Release
October 12, 2005

Contact: Kevin McCaffrey
413-538-2987

South Hadley, MA--Dr. Gro Brundtland, former Director-General of the World Health Organization and past Prime Minister of Norway, will be the Global Studies Fellow-in-Residence at Mount Holyoke College from October 25-28.

Brundtland will be the second Fellow-in-Residence brought to the campus by the Center for Global Initiatives. Last year, prominent journalist Rami Khouri, executive editor of Beirut's Daily Star newspaper, inaugurated the Center's program to bring prominent international figures to campus to engage the community in dialogue on important global issues in a variety of settings, from lectures to classes to informal gatherings.

At 7:30 pm, Thursday, October 27, Dr. Brundtland will present a lecture titled "Global Health Threat: Problems, Politics, and Policies." The lecture will take place in Gamble Auditorium in the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and will be free, open to the public, and accessible to all.

"Dr. Brundtland has had a profound impact on our thinking about the developing world, the environment, and global health," said Eva Paus, director of the Center for Global Initiatives. "We are deeply honored and delighted that she will be our Global Studies Fellow, sharing her expertise and insights with the community on and off campus. She is an impressive leader and a powerful role model."

Dr. Brundtland will also participate in a teaching context at Mount Holyoke and with youth in the larger community. She will lead two classes at the College focusing on economic development: In Economics 213, she will discuss with students what has happened to sustainable development since "Our Common Future," the pathbreaking study issued in 1987 by a UN Commission that Brundtland chaired; in Geography 319, Brundtland will discuss health issues and development problems in Africa. Brundtland will also meet with high school girls from Girls Inc. of Holyoke and high schools in South Hadley and Amherst to discuss challenges faced by women in striving for leadership positions. In addition, she will meet with 35 to 40 faculty members of the Five Colleges for a dinner and discussion about governance structures for global health problems. The student advisory board of the Center for Global Initiatives will use Brundtland's visit as a teaching opportunity to educate the community about different global health threats by providing basic information across campus through table tents, news flushes, and flyers.

Head of WHO, Prime Minister of Norway

Few people have had an impact on society as global as Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, a medical doctor and Master of Public Health. She spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system and served 20 years in public office. In 1981, Dr. Brundtland became the youngest person and the first woman appointed Prime Minister of Norway. With two other periods as Prime Minister from 1986-1989 and 1990-1996, Dr. Brundtland accumulated more than 10 years as Head of Government.

Throughout her political career, Dr. Brundtland developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983, the then United Nations Secretary-General invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development. The Commission, best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development, published its report "Our Common Future" in April 1987. The Commission's recommendations led to the Earth Summit--the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In her acceptance speech as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988, for the World Health Assembly, Dr. Brundtland defined the WHO's role as being the "moral voice and the technical leader in improving health of the people of the world. Ready and able to give advice on the key issues that can unleash development and alleviate suffering. I see our purpose to be combating disease and ill-health--promoting sustainable and equitable health systems in all countries."

During Dr. Brundtland's term as Director-General (1998-2003), the WHO made substantial progress in reaching the goals set at the beginning of her term. Health was placed on the global development agenda by her participation at G-8 meetings and given a natural and prominent place in the UN Millennium Development Goals. A substantial amount of resources were redirected to health; health as an investment for development took root; and the WHO negotiated the first-ever International Health Convention, the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control.

Upon retirement from the WHO, Dr. Brundtland continued to serve as Health Policy Fellow at Harvard University and as member of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and UN Reform appointed by the UN Secretary General. Dr. Brundtland remains a strong voice for national health. She is one of the most distinguished global leaders today.

About the Center

The Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) was founded in 2004 to equip students to confront the global problems and challenges of the 21st century. The Center coordinates, integrates, and articulates the college's existing internationally related offerings into a coherent and dynamic whole, and it initiates new global education activities reaching out across the campus to the local and worldwide community.

For more information visit Center for Global Initiatives.