By Jeff Samoray, OU Web Writer
Lech Walesa, former president of Poland and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, delivered his views on world politics in an address at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Theatre on Friday, Oct. 26. Speaking through an interpreter, Walesa devoted much of his lecture to a discussion of global economics.
“Globalization is inevitable, whether we like it or not,” Walesa said to an audience of several hundred. “In the 20th century, most of the struggles and wars were fought over the riches of the land. Information, intelligence and the Internet are defining the new era of the 21st century. Today, the monies earned from this can be used to buy the riches of the land. I appeal, especially to the young people of today, to install a framework and structure for this new era. I’m confident that within five to 10 years China will enter this globalization and we will be faced with even more challenges.”
Walesa compared the present era of globalization to the industrial revolution. Just as there was resistance before the acceptance of steam engines, there also will be an acceptance of globalization, Walesa said.
“Many Americans fear globalization, but closing your eyes is not the proper solution,” he said. “The challenges of today’s world can be met by the intellect and technology. No other generation has been faced with such an opportunity.”
In a question-answer session with the audience, Walesa compared the present war on terrorism with his country’s past struggles against communism.
“There were 250,000 Soviet soldiers based in Poland with nuclear weapons all around,” he said. “This new war on terrorism can be won with intellect and sophisticated means. Those who are for life will defeat those who are for backwardness and death. With our common efforts, we can overcome them.”
Junior Stacy Anderson, a business administration major, said she was impressed by the way Walesa delivered his lecture.
“My fiancé and his family are from Poland, so I wanted to hear what Walesa had to say,” Anderson said. “He has a lot of energy and his sense of humor kept people interested. His life has been very impressive. I was glad he came and I felt honored to have been able to see him.”
Senior Chris Gilbert, a political science major, said he was especially interested in Walesa’s political views.
“I was curious to see what he might have to say. I wanted to hear his views on the international power structure. As much as he spoke of globalization, he seemed to have some fears about it," Gilbert said. "It was interesting to hear a different perspective on the coming changes of globalization.”
The Walensa lecture was presented in part by the Student Program Board. For more information on upcoming SPB events, visit the Student Program Board Web site or call (248) 370-4296.