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Former Australian Prime Minister To Speak at Pittsburgh Speakers Series

Monday, October 20, 2014

JuliaGillardThe Pittsburgh Speakers Series presented by Robert Morris University will continue its 2014-15 season Wednesday, Oct. 29, with a talk by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Her talk takes place at 8 p.m. at Heinz Hall in the downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District and is open to Pittsburgh Speakers Series subscribers

Gillard was the first woman to serve in that office in the country's history. Gillard played a central part in successfully managing the world's 12th biggest economy during the global financial crisis.

Gillard received worldwide attention for a blistering speech in parliament in which she accused her opponent of misogyny and reflected on the treatment of women in professional and public life. In office Gillard delivered nation-changing policies, including reforming education at every level from early childhood to university, creating an emissions trading scheme, and improving the provision and sustainability of health care, including Australia's first national plan to care for people with disabilities. She also oversaw a restructuring of the telecommunications sector and the construction of a national broadband network.

Gillard strengthened Australia’s alliance with the United States, secured stronger architecture for the relationship with China, upgraded Australia’s ties with India, and deepened ties with Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea. She also positioned Australia to seize the benefits of Asia’s rise and developed the guiding policy paper "Australia in the Asian Century." Gillard represented Australia in the G20 and secured Australia’s right to host its 2014 meeting. Also under Gillard’s leadership, Australia was elected to the United Nations Security Council.

Gillard was born in Wales, and as a child she was frequently sick from bronchial pneumonia, which in part prompted her family to move to Australia in hopes the warmer climate would be easier on her.