Monsignor Robert Sheeran – Welcome Remarks
Visit by Tony Blair – 3 February 2009
Welcome to Seton Hall. Our community has many traditions. Since 1856, a tradition of excellence in teaching, learning and scholarship. And from the earliest days, a tradition of great athletic programs, as well – as you can see looking around this gym.
Since the establishment of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations in 1997, our World Leaders Forum has been a new, privileged tradition of hosting some of the world's great leaders. We have listened to President Gorbachev of Russia and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. We have heard from President Shimon Peres of Israel and former President Mohammad Khatami of Iran.
This Forum is an opportunity for our community and our friends to come face to face with people who have helped shape the world in which we live and who continue to write the history of our times. They are all committed to the enormous task of dialogue and understanding among the different peoples and ideologies, different cultures and faiths throughout the world.
Our mission at Seton Hall is to educate servant leaders for a global society. Servant leaders – men and women with the spirit, talents and education who choose to make a difference wherever their vocations or professions bring them. Our Catholic roots, our University mission and our geographic location all equip us with a unique international platform for global higher education.
This afternoon we host another impressive world leader: Mr. Tony Blair. He is a man of intellect, vision and personality. His achievements as Prime Minister of Great Britain for ten years; his current role as an extraordinary Middle East envoy; his founding of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation – all reveal him as what he truly is: an uncommon statesman in these daunting times.
We look forward to hearing from him today. But before that, I want to introduce my friend, John Whitehead, who will himself present Mr. Blair.
The things that John Whitehead does – things seen and unseen – are likewise a testament to the man he is. John Whitehead has given his name to our School of Diplomacy and International Relations. But more importantly, he has given his example to all of us. Whether it was during his years of leadership on Wall Street; as Undersecretary of State; more recently, in shepherding the efforts to redevelop Lower Manhattan after 9/11; he is a man who leads, a person who makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of so many others. For his support and his encouragement to our students and our School, we are always grateful.
As president of Seton Hall, I have every confidence that among our students here today Providence will raise up such servant leaders as John Whitehead and Tony Blair in days to come.
Enjoy the afternoon.