Benjamin Netanyahu Speaks in Northwest Arkansas

Siloam Springs, Ark (April 17, 2001) - The Donald G. Soderquist Center for Business Leadership and Ethics is pleased to have former Israeli Prime Minister and author Benjamin Netanyahu to northwest Arkansas. Mr. Netanyahu was the keynote speaker at a private luncheon held at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center with a select group of senior executive leaders from around the nation as well as northwest Arkansas.

Business leaders from approximately twenty states gathered together today to have the opportunity to learn from and interact with this world leader. Pictured in the photo are (from left to right): Don Soderquist, Retired Senior Vice-Chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Benjamin Netanyahu, Former Israeli Prime Minister; Tony Gelbart, Founder of the Gelbart Foundation, President and CEO of Paper Partners of Miami, FL and U.S. Sponsor/Spokesperson for Mr. Netanyahu.

Earlier in the day Mr. Netanyahu addressed the students, faculty and staff at John Brown University. Mr. Netanyahu is deeply committed to the world’s future leaders in this country as well as Israel and enjoys challenging university students worldwide on issues relating to leadership and ethics.

Mr. Netanyahu’s luncheon speech, entitled “Leadership and Ethics in the Global Economy” explored the real issues of ethical leadership during turbulent times and the personal costs associated with realizing any vision.

Excerpts from his speech include:

“…So leadership, true leadership, is always about struggle. It is about two things: one, having values, and two, being willing to fight for those values. If you want to be a leader you must have values, a set of beliefs, convictions and ideals - a vision for your country, your community, your business - and you must be willing to step into the arena and fight for those values, for that “worthy cause”.”

“But there’s always a cost associated with realizing any vision. In my case, it was inevitable that when we moved from a traditional, controlled, socialist economy to a high-tech, free market one, we’d sustain some temporary unemployment. You will not be surprised to hear that this was an issue that figured prominently in the campaign and that hurt me quite a bit politically. Yet I am very proud of all that we achieved…”

“Standing mid-century, amidst a shattered world, the U.S. chose to heed the words of a great American general of WWII, General Omar Bradley. He said, “It is time America steered by the light of the stars, and not by the lights of each passing ship.” That’s exactly what the U.S. did. It chose to steer by the stars of freedom and human dignity, and the entire world is now better for it and ready to enter the new millennium with hope and confidence in the future.”

Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv and spent most of his childhood in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu graduated from high school in the U.S. and then served his country in an elite commando unit of the Israeli army until 1972, when he returned to the U.S to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and a Master’s of Science Degree in Management Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also studied Political Science at MIT and Harvard University.

He then worked as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group from 1976 until 1978, when he left for Jerusalem. he helped establish the Jonathan Institute, a private foundation dedicated to researching and combating terrorism, named after his late brother who was killed in a hostage rescue mission.

Mr. Netanyahu served as Israel’s Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999. Before becoming Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Today, Mr. Netanyahu is an author, most recently of the book, A Durable Peace. He has authored and edited several other books including A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World. His books have been published in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian and other languages.

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