Former British Prime Minister David Cameron to headline 2017-18 speakers

Elon will also host Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oncologist Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, psychologist and author Angela Duckworth and Wes Moore, author, social entrepreneur and motivational leader, during the upcoming academic year.

David Cameron, who served six years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and 11 years as Leader of the Conservative Party, will be the featured speaker at Elon University’s 2017 Fall Convocation on Oct. 5 in Alumni Gymnasium of the Koury Center.

<p>Former Prime Minister David Cameron</p>
​Cameron comes to Elon after stepping down as Prime Minister in July 2016. In 2010 at the age of 43, Cameron became the country’s youngest Prime Minister in nearly two centuries, taking office during a time when the United Kingdom was in a period of economic crisis. He is credited with reducing the nation’s deficit by more than two-thirds while leading a period of record-breaking job creation as Britain became the fastest-growing major advanced economy in the world.

While in office he introduced a national living wage, won passage of gay rights legislation, championed environmental issues and won a national referendum to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom. Among his top priorities was protecting the National Health Service, the publicly funded national health care system for the UK. In his farewell address, Cameron said, “For me politics has always been about public service in the national interest. It is simple to say but often hard to do.” 

Internationally, Cameron developed a foreign policy in the post-Iraq era that addressed the new challenges of the Arab Spring, as well as a more aggressive Russia, while ensuring that Britain played a full role in the global fight against ISIS. Following hosting the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Cameron chaired the 2013 G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, a meeting involving some of the world’s most powerful countries where he highlighted the global need for fair taxes, increased transparency and open trade.

Cameron became Leader of the Conservative Party in 2005 after serving five years as a Member of Parliament. As Prime Minister, he led Britain’s first coalition government in nearly 70 years and, following the 2015 election, achieved the first majority Conservative government in the United Kingdom in nearly two decades. He resigned in July 2016 after unsuccessfully campaigning to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.

Since leaving government, Cameron has focused on bettering the lives of young people as Chairman of Patrons at the National Citizen Service, the U.K.’s flagship youth development program that brings together teenagers from around the country for a part-residential experience that focuses on a local community project. He also serves as President of Alzheimer’s Research UK and is chairing the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, under the auspices of the International Growth Centre.

Baird Lecture: Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee

Elon’s fall Baird Lecture will feature Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a leading oncologist and researcher who has received wide acclaim as an author for his examinations of cancer and the human gene.

​His first book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” received a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 and was named one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time by Time magazine. It offered insights into the various forms of cancer that plague humanity, with Mukherjee starting from the first known reference in ancient Egypt and working his way through time.

The New Yorker said of Mukherjee’s first book, “it’s hard to think of many books for a general audience that have rendered any area of modern science and technology with such intelligence, accessibility and compassion. … An extraordinary achievement.”

In 2016 Mukherjee followed with “The Gene: An Intimate History” that offers a “biographical” look that seeks to understand human heredity and its influence on our lives while using the history of mental illness in his own family to help tell the story. In the work, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary 21st century innovators who mapped the human genome.

A Rhodes Scholar who was honored by Time in 2011 as one of the “100 Most Influential People,” Mukherjee is a graduate of Stanford University, the University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School. He currently serves as assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and is a cancer physician at CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. He has published articles in Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, The New York Times and The New Republic.

Mukherjee’s talk, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Sept. 20, 2017, in McCrary Theatre of the Center for the Arts, is part of Elon’s Baird Lecture Series, which was endowed in 2001 by a gift by James H. Baird and his late wife, Jane M. Baird, of Burlington, N.C.

2018 Spring Convocation: Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth, a psychologist and best-selling author who has focused on the importance of character to success in life, will be the featured speaker at Spring Convocation.

​Duckworth is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder and scientific director of Character Lab, a nonprofit organization aimed at advancing the science and practice of character development. Her first book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” became an immediate New York Times bestseller. A 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, Duckworth’s examination of grit and self-control has led her to be called upon as an adviser for the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams and Fortune 500 CEOs. Currently, she serves as a faculty director for Wharton People Analytics, an initiative that helps organizations adopt the latest insights from social science research.

Duckworth has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today and National Geographic, which called her “a born giver who’s driven by an impulse to do good in the world and right inequities.” Prior to her career in research, she was an award-winning math and science teacher who founded a summer school for low-income children that was profiled as a case study nonprofit organization by the Harvard Kennedy School.

Spring Convocation is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., April 5, 2018, in Alumni Gymnasium of the Koury Center.

2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address: Wes Moore

As part of the weeklong celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Elon will present an address by Wes Moore, a best-selling author, social entrepreneur and motivational leader. Moore is a Rhodes Scholar who founded the education technology startup, BridgeEDU.

Moore is the author of multiple books including his most recent, “The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters,” which explores the meaning of success and debuted at No. 15 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. His first book, “The Other Wes Moore,” offered insight into the mentors and support networks as he grew up that kept him from falling into a life of crime and drugs.

Moore is a former paratrooper and captain in the U.S. Army who as a Rhodes Scholar studied international relations at Oxford. Moore has been featured by USA Today, TIME magazine, People magazine, “Meet the Press,” “The Colbert Report,” MSNBC and NPR. He is the host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network and is the executive producer and host of the PBS series “Coming Back with Wes Moore,” which focuses on the re-integration of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their return home.

Moore’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address is scheduled for 6 p.m., Jan. 10, 2018, in McCrary Theatre of the Center for the Arts.