The World Leaders Forum is a year-round event series at Columbia University that has hosted over 300 heads of state and world leaders from over 85 countries since it was first established in 2003 by President Lee C. Bollinger.

"The Columbia World Leaders Forum was created to provide a place where our University community would be able to hear—in undiluted form—about the critical issues facing other nations, and the world at large, from those in positions of authority and responsibility."

-President Lee C. Bollinger

President Lee C. Bollinger with the 14th Dalai Lama



Rotunda, Low Memorial Library

Low Memorial Library offers a unique venue for world leaders from countries and organizations small and large to engage in discussions related to the major issues of our time. An interactive question and answer session is a part of every event, giving Columbia students, scholars, and faculty opportunities to participate in these discussions.



Past speakers include:

  • President Gabriel Boric Font of he Republic of Chile
  • Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the Kingdom of Norway
  • Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the Hellenic Republic 
  • Secretary-General António Guterres of the United Nations
  • Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland
  • President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda
  • President Barham Salih of the Republic of Iraq
  • Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland
  • María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Former Secretary of State of the United States Madeleine Albright
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand
  • Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace laureate, Liberian peace activist, Founder and President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa
  • President Juan Manuel Santos of the Republic of Colombia

Visit the directory for a comprehensive list of past World Leaders Forum speakers.