World Leaders Forum

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A World Leaders Forum event in Low Library's rotunda

The World Leaders Forum was initiated by President Bollinger in 2003 as part of his plan to make Columbia more "global". During the UN General Assembly meeting each fall, Columbia invites a number of major world figures onto campus to deliver speeches and take part in conferences. Forum events are also held throughout the year as opportunities present themselves.

These invitations are rarely uncontroversial, and protests have broken out during the appearances of individuals such as Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ethiopia's Menes Zenawi (see Zenawi Protests).

You know the forum's in town when there are snipers on the roofs of Columbia buildings.

Visiting leaders


  • Mircea Dan Geoana, Foreign Minister of Romania
  • Enrique Bolaños Geyer, President of Nicaragua
  • Tassos Giannitsis, Foreign Minister of Greece
  • Mladen Ivanic, Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
  • Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister of Iran

  • John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana
  • Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
  • Dimitrij Rupel, Foreign Minister of Slovenia
  • Goran Svilanovic, Foreign Minister of Serbia-Montenegro
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India


  • Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State
  • Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan
  • Charles Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia
  • Joaquim Alberto Chissano, President of Mozambique
  • Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Foreign Minister of Poland
  • Carlos Diego Mesa Gisbert, President of Bolivia
  • Ion Iliescu, President of Romania

  • Carolina Barco Isakson, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia
  • Dodo Aichatou Mindaoudou, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger
  • Ilinka Mitreva, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia
  • Kristina Ojuland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
  • Surakiart Sathiarathai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
  • Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia


  • Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
  • Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President of Sierra Leone
  • Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

  • Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland
  • Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
  • Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia
  • Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq
  • Susilo Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia


  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran (CANCELLED)
  • Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister and former Minister of Defense, Canada
  • David Choquehuanca, Minister of Foreign Relations of Bolivia
  • Yegor Gaidar, former Prime Minister of Russia
  • Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Finance, Nigeria; former Vice President of the World Bank

  • Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi, Minister of Economy, United Arab Emirates
  • Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland
  • Dr. Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of Croatia
  • Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
  • Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations


  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran
  • Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh
  • Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile
  • Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, President of Turkmenistan
  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia

  • Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania (CANCELLED)
  • Željko Komšić, Presidency Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi
  • Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia


  • Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland
  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark
  • Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey


  • Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland
  • Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN
  • Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina
  • Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana

  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
  • Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister of Nepal
  • Boris Tadic, President of Serbia
  • Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand


  • Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey
  • George Soros
  • Ivo Josipović, President of the Republic of Croatia
  • José Manuel Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste
  • Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
  • José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain

  • José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
  • Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan
  • Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France
  • Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citi


  • Roza Otunbayeva, President of Kyrgyzstan
  • Rafael Correa, President of the Republic of Ecuador
  • Abdullah II bin al-Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • Michel Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti

  • Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea
  • Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Sanjay Gupta


  • Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States
  • Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, chair of the National League for Democracy, Burma


  • Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti
  • Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace laureate
  • Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court

External links