The David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas is pleased to announce that Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson will kick off the 2013-14 speaker series on Sept. 23.

His talk begins at 7:30 p.m. at The Erickson Alumni Center. It is free and open to the public.

Richardson’s remarks will close the first day of West Virginia University’s College of Law inaugural conference, Business and Human Rights: Moving Forward, Looking Back, which is supported by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

As the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson will reflect on his experiences within the organization and the importance of its work in promoting human rights in innovation, business and globalization.

A five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Richardson has enjoyed a successful and fulfilling career in public service and diplomacy. His two consecutive terms as governor ended in January 2011. In 2008, he sought the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

Prior to that, he served for 15 years in northern New Mexico representing the 3rd Congressional District. In 1997, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and, in 1998, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

WVU Festival of Ideas 2013-14

Jake Harriman
Founder and CEO of Nuru International
October 17, 2013 | Mountainlair

Ronald Lewis
WVU Professor Emeritus of History
November 5, 2013 | Mountainlair

Keep up-to-date with the latest speaker schedule here:

While a congressman, Richardson served as a special envoy on many sensitive international missions. He successfully won the release of hostages, American servicemen and prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, Cuba and Sudan.

Few can match his wide-ranging experience and his level of dedication to protecting the rights and improving the quality of life of people in New Mexico, the United States and around the world.

As governor, Richardson moved New Mexico forward in several important areas, including clean energy, education, public safety, environment, transportation, healthcare and $1 billion in tax cuts for New Mexicans.

He made New Mexico the “Clean Energy State” by requiring utilities to meet 20 percent of New Mexico’s electrical demand from renewable sources and established a Renewable Energy Transmission Authority to deliver New Mexico’s world-class renewable resources to market.

During his administration, more than $1 billion was invested in public schools, including professional salaries to recruit and retain quality teachers, shifting education money from administration to the classroom, and increased access to early childhood education.

Richardson also spearheaded a new commercial space industry in New Mexico anchored by Spaceport America, which is partnering with private tenants like Virgin Galactic to launch tourists into space.

During his term as governor, New Mexico’s film industry exploded. Investments made resulted in more than 140 major film and television productions and an estimated economic impact of more than $3 billion.

Richardson expanded access to quality health care by implementing several “Insure New Mexico!” initiatives that are affordable coverage solutions for New Mexico’s small employers, non-profit agencies, individuals and options for every New Mexico child under the age of 12 years old.

Since entering life as a private citizen, Richardson was named chairman of APCO Worldwide’s executive advisory service Global Political Strategies and Special Envoy for the Organization of American States, adding another platform for initiatives within peace and reconciliation in the Western hemisphere.

In addition, Richardson serves as senior fellow for Latin America at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and has joined several non-profit and for-profit boards, including Abengoa’s International Advisory Board, the fifth largest biofuels producer in the U.S., WRI World Resources Institute, Refugees International and the National Council for Science and the Environment.

Richardson has authored two books, “Between Worlds” and “Leading by Example,” and is the co-author of the forthcoming “How to Sweet Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator.”

Richardson has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for 38 years. Richardson received a BA from Tufts University in 1970 and a Master of Arts from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.

Festival of Ideas was created in 1995 by former University president David C. Hardesty Jr. It was inspired by events he organized as WVU’s student body president in the 1960s. Today, the lecture series spans the academic year and brings a diverse group of newsmakers, public figures and thought leaders – along with WVU’s own superstars – to campus to engage the community in important issues of the day. It’s organized by the Office of University Events. For more information, visit and follow the conversation on Twitter at #wvuideas.

Arrangements for the appearance of Bill Richardson were made through the Washington Speakers Bureau.



CONTACT: Liz Dickinson, Office of University Events

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