In one of his first public events since leaving office, former Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair will be the speaker at the Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on October 18, 2007, in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.
Mr. Blair was invited by His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, who said, “We are most grateful to the former Prime Minister for accepting our invitation. In 1947, our speaker was another Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. It is a distinct honor that we will have Mr. Blair with us this year.”
The Smith Dinner is a black tie event, which over the years has raised millions for charitable works throughout Greater New York, especially in the area of health care for the needy.
The dinner honors the memory of Al Smith, the former governor of New York who was the first Catholic to be nominated by a major political party to run for President of the United States. Although unsuccessful, historians maintain that the Governor’s presidential bid paved the way for the candidacy of President John F. Kennedy.
Traditionally, the speakers have delivered inspiring addresses that have blended good humor with substance in a style much in keeping with Al Smith, who once said: “Be simple in words, manners, and gestures. Amuse as well as instruct. If you can make a man laugh, you can make him think and make him like and believe you.”
Al Smith IV, a great grandson of the New Yorker who was raised in the tenements of the Lower East Side and came to be known as “The Happy Warrior,” will again serve as Master of Ceremonies at the dinner.
“Mr. Blair’s impressive and unrivalled diplomatic skills secure his stature as a current world leader,” Mr. Smith observed. “Our nation is fortunate to have him as a loyal friend. We are looking forward with much pleasure and anticipation to his remarks as the featured speaker of our dinner in October.”
Mr. Blair served over ten years as Prime Minister of Great Britain, the longest serving Labour Party Prime Minister in history. He was recently appointed as the special envoy to the Middle East on behalf of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.
Mr. Blair is noted for his interest in inter-faith issues and the promotion of inter-religious understanding.
For more information on Alfred E. Smith and the Smith Foundation, please visit: www.alsmithfoundation.org