Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to Speak in Santa Barbara
by Eric Moylan


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will address UCSB students and the public this Monday at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre on State Street.
The talk, which was organized by UCSB Arts and Lectures, will see the honorable Blair discuss his goal of increasing interfaith understanding. Blair will also offer his view on the role of faith in the modern world.

“It’s going to be an honor to have him,” said Baira Palomar of the Arts and Lectures program. “It should be really big.” Ticket demand has already been very high for the event and Palomar believes the talk will compliment the upcoming lecture by the Dalai Lama.  Both will be heavily based on faith.
The topics to be discussed are particularly close to Blair as he is the current Middle East envoy for the U.S., the U. N., Russia, and the European Union. One of the primary roles of this position is the preparation of Palestine for statehood, as well as improving the rights of Palestinians. In 2008 The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was also founded with goals of expanding his role as the envoy to the Middle East to all other areas of the world.
Blair served as the British Prime Minister from 1997-2007 and led the Labour Party from 1994-2007. Under his leadership, the party adopted the term “New Labour.” Many of the old unpopular policies were abandoned in an attempt to reconnect to the British public. Blair guided the party to a majority government in three general elections after the Labour Party had spent 18 years in defeat.
During his time in office, there were many high and low points. Chief among Blair’s achievements are the pivotal role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process, the introduction of a minimum wage in the U.K., and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.
Perhaps the greatest criticism of Blair’s time in office will be his support of the war in Iraq. The public began to disapprove of his leadership and even call for his resignation. He eventually stepped aside in 2007, allowing Gordon Brown to become the new Prime Minister.
This talk will mark Blair’s first appearance in front of a UCSB audience.
As of press time, there were a limited number of student and general admission tickets available from Arts and Lectures.