Walden University’s “Perspectives on the World” series brings distinguished scholars, journalists, and social scientists to commencement ceremonies and academic residency programs to share their diverse global views with doctoral students and faculty members.

2012

An entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and teacher, Dr. Charles Ota Heller was born in Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Nazi occupation. In his memoir, Prague: My Long Journey Home, Dr. Heller chronicles his family’s harrowing journey and the wartime horrors he endured before immigrating to the United States and finding prosperity.

Marc and Craig Kielburger are brothers, social entrepreneurs, and co-founders of the nonprofit organization Free The Children—the world’s largest international network of children helping children through education. With three Nobel Peace Prize nominations, four best-selling books, and high-profile partnerships with organizations such as the United Nations and Oprah’s Angel Network, the Kielburgers connect people with issues that matter.

At age 35, John Wood left a promising executive career track at Microsoft to establish Room to Read, an award-winning international nonprofit organization that focuses on improving literacy and gender equality for children in developing regions. Since its founding in 1999, Wood’s organization has sponsored the opening of more than 1,600 schools and 15,000 multilingual libraries across the developing world.

2011

Jonathan Greenblatt is a one-time White House staffer, pioneering social entrepreneur, and corporate executive. Mr. Greenblatt has succeeded in the highest levels of government, corporate America, and the nonprofit world. These experiences give him a unique perspective regarding the changing patterns of social activism.

Widow of the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, Jehan al-Sedat has dedicated much of her life to challenging the traditional roles of Muslim women in society. During the 1970s, she organized a movement to reform Egyptian civil rights law and was successful in reforming divorce laws that victimized women. Sadat is also founder of the Talla Society, a women’s emancipation and education group aimed at helping women become more self-sufficient.

2010

Blake Mycoskie is the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes. With every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. As of April 2010, TOMS has given over 1,000,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need through giving partners around the world.

Daniel Pink is a leading business writer and visionary who thinks deeply about America’s workforce and our increasingly complex workplace. Mr. Pink is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about the changing world of work, including his latest book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, which uses 50 years of behavioral science to overturn the conventional wisdom about human motivation and offer a more effective path to high performance.

Eric Greitens, founder of The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that helps wounded and disabled veterans begin careers as citizen leaders so they can continue their service to the nation here at home.

2009

Social Change Conference 2009
Walden’s fifth annual Social Change Conference: Social Entrepreneurship: Taking Action, Leading Change
Featured speakers:

  • Cheryl Dorsey—President, Echoing Green
  • Michele Jolin—White House Senior Advisor for Social Innovation for the Domestic Policy Council

Plus, a panel discussion: Perspectives from the Front Lines of Social Entrepreneurship

“In Power for a Change: Women Leading Social Change”

  • Lilly Ledbetter, Namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
  • Gloria Lewis, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities
  • Dr. Anita McDonald, Chancellor, Penn State DuBois
  • July 25, Minneapolis, MN
  • Watch the panel (Note: There are some minor variations in the sound.)

Commencement address
Lilly Ledbetter, Namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

"Politics in an Age of Partisanship: A Prescription for Change"
Christine Todd Whitman, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and governor of New Jersey

“Making a Difference in Our Communities, States, and Nation”
Madeleine Kunin, former U.S. Ambassador is adept at effecting social change on a grand scale. In addition to her ambassadorship to Switzerland, Kunin served as the first female Governor in Vermont and created several education reforms as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education under the Clinton administration.

“A New Generation of Learning: Diverse Students, Emerging Technologies, and a Sustainability Challenge”
Dr. Mark David Milliron, award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant best known for exploring leadership development, future trends, learning strategies, and the human side of technology change

“The Political Environment and Mood of the Country”
Donna Brazile
, nationally acclaimed political strategist and commentator and chair of the Voting Rights Institute

2008

“How To Change the World: Stories of Social Innovation”
David Bornstein, author of How to Change The World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

Jeffrey Goldberg, author and correspondent for The Atlantic magazine

Dr. John Belcham, Liverpool historian and pro-vice chancellor of the University of Liverpool

“Making Integrity Personal, Practical and Profitable”
Dr. David Gruder
, author of The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships, and Our World

Kevin Klose, president of National Public Radio

The Rt. Hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, Great Britain’s Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

Dr. Paul Loeb, author of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

Robin Wright, diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post

2007

Dr. Sheri Parks, associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland and host of “Clear Reception with Sheri Parks” on public radio

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper,  president of Waterkeeper Alliance, clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic, and co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio

Winona LaDuke, Native American environmentalist

  • “Environmental Justice from the Native Perspective”
  • July 20, Minneapolis, MN (Academic Residency)

Juan Enriquez, chairman and CEO of Biotechonomy, a company that researches and funds startups working to develop the promise of the genomic revolution