Live Webcast: Former President of India to Speak

April 15, 2010

Dr. Abdul Kalam to Discuss “Life, Progress, Challenges, and Growth”

WHAT: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India, will share his insights on “Life, Progress, Challenges, and Growth” during a Distinguished Leaders Series discussion at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

The Distinguished Leaders Series annually brings to Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business accomplished leaders who share their unique experiences with the school’s undergraduate and graduate students.

WHEN: Monday, April 19, 2010, 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business, 37th & O Streets, NW, Rafik B. Hariri Building, 
Lohrfink Auditorium, Washington, D.C.

RSVP: Open to the public. RSVP online.

Media who are interested in covering the event should contact Teresa Mannix, director of media relations, at (202) 687-4080 or

From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam served as the 11th president of India. During his tenure, he focused on transforming India into a developed nation by 2020.

A respected scientist, Dr. Kalam studied aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology. He was a project director in the development of India’s first indigenous satellite launch vehicle, which successfully projected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in 1980. After working for two decades in the Indian Space Research Organization, Dr. Kalam became the chief executive of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, where he was responsible for developing and operationalizing the AGNI and PRITHVI missiles and for building indigenous capability in critical technologies through the collaboration of multiple institutions.

He was the scientific advisor to the defense minister and secretary for the Department of Defense Research and Development division from 1992 to 1999. During this period, he led the weaponization of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy. He also improved self-reliance in defense systems by advancing multiple development tasks and mission projects, such as light combat aircraft.

As chairman of the Technology, Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, he led the country with the help of 500 experts in its Technology Vision 2020 initiative, providing a road map for transforming India from its developing status into a developed nation. Dr. Kalam also has served as the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India as cabinet minister, with responsibility for evolving policies, strategies, and missions for many development applications. Additionally, he was the chairman, ex-officio, of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, and he piloted the India Millennium Mission 2020.

Dr. Kalam took up academic pursuit as a professor of technology and societal transformation at Anna University, Chennai, in November 2001. He is the author of four books – Wings of Fire, India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium, My Journey, and Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India – that have become household names in India and among Indian nationals abroad.

Dr. Kalam is one of the most distinguished scientists of India, and he has received honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. He has received numerous awards, including the coveted civilian awards of Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990), as well as India’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna (1997).

The remaining events in the series will be held at 4:30 p.m. and include:
• Thursday, April 22: Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America

About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is a premier business school located at the center of world politics and business in Washington, D.C. Some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 500 participants in executive education programs study business with an intensive focus on leadership and a global perspective. Founded in 1957, the business school today resides in the new Rafik B. Hariri Building, a state-of-the-art facility that blends the tradition of Georgetown University with forward-thinking functionality. For more information about Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, visit