Distinguished Speakers

International Initiatives promotes intercultural understanding and creates opportunities for international engagement throughout the entire CSU community. As part of this effort, we organize a diverse array of programs that address global issues and promote multi-cultural awareness. Our goal is to help CSU students understand our changing world, and give student the tools needed to make a positive impact on the global challenges we face.

Leymah Gbowee
March 6, 2017

Ms. Leymah Gbowee won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War. She is a founding member and former coordinator for Women in Peacebuilding/West African Network for Peacebuilding, as well as the co-founder of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation. Gbowee is currently the President of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa where she fights for greater inclusion of women as leaders and agents of change in Africa.



Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland
March 3, 2016
“Our Common Future: Sustainable Development and Addressing Climate Change”

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, is a physician and an international leader in sustainable development and public health who chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development — the Brundtland Commission — which defined the term “sustainable development” in its landmark report, “Our Common Future.” After serving as Norway’s youngest ever Prime Minister from 1990 to 1996, she was appointed Director-General of the World Health Organization in 1998. In 2007, she was named United Nations’ Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. She is also deputy chair of The Elders, a group of 11 leaders called together in 2011 by Nelson Mandela and chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who contribute their wisdom, independent leadership, and integrity to tackling the world’s toughest problems with the goal of conflict resolution and making the world a better place.

ShizaShahid_HeadshotShiza Shahid
March 9, 2015
“There Are No Superheroes, Just Us”

Shiza Shahid is the Co-Founder and Global Ambassador of the Malala Fund, the organization representing Malala Yousafzai. Malala is the young Pakistani activist who was shot by the Taliban for her campaign for womens’ education. Shiza, a graduate of Stanford University and a previous business analyst at McKinsey & Company, now leads the fund to empower girls through education to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. Shiza was recently named one of TIME magazine’s “30 Under 30 World Changers” and to Forbes “30 Under 30″ list of social entrepreneurs.


Alan Arnette
February 9, 2015
“K2: Fighting for the Summit and for Life”

Alan is a world-acclaimed mountain climber, professional speaker and Alzheimer’s advocate. Prior to his early retirement in 2007 to oversee the care of his mother as she entered the final stages of Alzheimers, Alan was an HP executive running global businesses. At the age of 38, Alan began climbing and has summited many of the world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest at the age of 54. In 2011, he climbed the 7 Summits in under a year to raise $1M for Alzheimer’s research and to increase awareness. In 2014, and on his 58th birthday, he became the oldest and 18th American to summit K2, the world’s 2nd highest and most difficult mountain. Alan’s latest campaign is Project 8000, in which he will climb 11 of the 8,000 meter mountains to raise $1M for Alzheimer’s research and reach 100M people by 2020.

Robinson_cropMary Robinson
October 27, 2014
“Climate Justice and the Right to Health”

Mary Robinson served as the first woman President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is now the President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. Mary is a member of Elders, a member of Club of Madrid, a board member on the European Climate Foundation, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout the world including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. Mary has dedicated most of her life as a human rights advocate.

GirlRising_headshotGirl Rising
March 4, 2014

Girl Rising is a global movement for girls’ education based primarily around the 2013 feature film. From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, Girl Rising spotlights the unforgettable stories of nine girls living in the developing world, striving beyond nearly insurmountable circumstance to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. This film uses the power of storytelling to share the simple truth that educating girls can transform societies and to inspire action that gets girls into classrooms worldwide.



Hill1_croppedChristopher Hill
October 8, 2013
“Dissecting Syria”

Ambassador Christopher Hill is the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at The University of Denver, a monthly columnist for Project Syndicate, voice in the media on international affairs, and highly sought after public speaker. Ambassador Hill is a former career diplomat and a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as Ambassador to Iraq. Hill has served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, as U.S. Ambassador to Poland, as Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, as Special Envoy to Kosovo, and as Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director on the staff of the National Security Council. Ambassador Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer.

PatrickMureithi_HeadshotPatrick Mureithi
March 5, 2013
“Until Hope is Found”

Patrick Mureithi is a Kenyan documentary filmmaker and Artist in Residence at Drury University in Missouri. Between 2007 and 2009, he produced, filmed, and edited “ICYIZERE: Hope,” a documentary about forgiveness and reconciliation between 10 victims and 10 perpetrators of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. ICYIZERE (ee-cheez-eh-reh) has been shown on college campuses all over the US, as well as in 8 different countries. His most recent documentary, “Kenya: Until Hope is Found,” is a film about healing from PostTraumatic Stress Disorder after Kenya’s 2007/8 Post-Election Violence that left more than 1,200 dead and 500,000 displaced from their homes. CSU showed both documentaries and led a discussion afterwards.


World Bank Presentation
February 26, 2013

Angelica Silvero is head of the World Bank Speaker’s Bureau. Established in 1944, and based in Washington DC, the World Bank is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 188 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each supports the Bank’s mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. Together these institutions provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes. For Colorado State, Angelica discussed the World Bank and its role in international development.

AIDS Quilt Phot_headshotNational AIDS Quilt
December 2012

The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt began in 1987 when a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Today the Quilt remains the largest community art project with more than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels — mostly sewn together by friends, lovers, and family members to commemorate the life of someone who has died of AIDS. The mission of this Archive Project is to preserve the powerful images and stories contained within The Quilt while expanding AIDS awareness and HIV prevention education efforts. Since 1987 over 14 million people have visited the Quilt and the NAMES Project Foundation has raised over $3 million for AIDS service organizations throughout North America. Colorado State University hosted 20 panels.