March 13, 2015

** Due to unforeseen circumstances Mr. Gorbachev's visit the United States have been cancelled. As such, this event will not happen as planned.**

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Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College will welcome former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to LeFrak Gymnasium on Monday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. for a special conversation with renowned scholar William Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science.

Mr. Gorbachev received the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his preeminent role in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end 25 years ago. Prof. Taubman, who is completing a biography of Mr. Gorbachev, won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2003 biography of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. After his on-stage interview with Prof. Taubman, Mr. Gorbachev will take questions from the audience. Seating will be free and open to the public, except for seats that will be reserved for Amherst College students, faculty and staff until 7:15 p.m., after which all seats will be released on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are delighted that former President Gorbachev is coming to Amherst,” said President Biddy Martin. “His conversation with Prof. Taubman during this anniversary of the Cold War’s end, when relations between the United States and Russia have become increasingly volatile, promises to be fascinating and helpful.”

Mr. Gorbachev served as the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, implementing policies of glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring") that transformed his country. Mr. Gorbachev radically reformed the oppressive government system, ended the Communist Party’s monopoly of power, dramatically expanded freedom of the press and freedom of speech, and took numerous other bold steps to expand citizen participation in politics.

His “new thinking” in foreign policy led to a wave of almost entirely peaceful revolution in Eastern Europe, resulting in the end of Communism across the former Soviet bloc. The transformation was most vividly symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, which marked the beginning of the end of a divided Germany. Mr. Gorbachev also initiated a new relationship with the United States and other Western nations, and achieved an historic 1987 nuclear disarmament treaty with President Reagan, the first treaty ever to reduce nuclear weapons.

Now retired from politics, Mr. Gorbachev has remained active in seeking peaceful solutions to world problems. In 1992, he became president of The International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies, known as the Gorbachev Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation. Its purpose is to articulate and address the challenges of the post-Cold War world through the re-envisioning of global priorities.

Prof. William Taubman, at Amherst since 1967, has received numerous awards for his scholarship on Russia, most notably the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography for Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2003), the first comprehensive biography of the Soviet Communist leader, and the first about any Soviet leader to reflect the full range of sources that became available after the Soviet Union’s collapse. His forthcoming biography of Mr. Gorbachev will be published by W. W. Norton in 2016.


Questions about the event? Contact Patricia Allen, Director of Conferences and Special Events, at (413) 542-8094 or conferencesandevents@amherst.edu.

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