The Right Honourable Henry McLeish, former First Minister of Scotland, served in the government of former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, dined with Queen Elizabeth II, met with former President George W. Bush in the Oval Office, and had a private audience with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.

McLeish, who played professional soccer before rising up the political ranks in Britain, lectures on topics affecting European Union member countries with ties to the United States – the evolving conflict in Ukraine, the Greek debt crisis, and the Scottish independence movement.

As Minister for Devolution and Home Affairs at the Scottish Office from 1997 to 1999 he was instrumental in shaping Scotland’s first Parliament in almost 300 years. He was also responsible for law and order including the police and the prison service. Elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 he was Minister for Enterprise and Life Long Learning overseeing higher education, industry, science, technology and the economy.

He became First Minister of Scotland in 2000: taking responsibility for Scotland’s emerging role on the European and world stage, leading official government missions internationally and implementing Scotland’s social and economic policies. He became a member of the Privy Council – an honour bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen – in the same year.

He played a key role in the process of devolution, which returned key aspects of legislative power and Government authority from the UK to Scotland. After 30 years in elected politics, Mr McLeish retired from public office in 2003.

During the last decade he has been visiting professor and lecturer at a number of universities in the US, teaching European Union studies and UK Government and Politics. He is currently, Visiting Professor of European Studies at the University of Arkansas and Honorary Professor of Political Studies at Edinburgh University. He has also lectured at the University of Oklahoma and the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. Courses have included: The Political Integration of the EU; Economic and Monetary Union; Democracy and Government in the EU; and other EU related topics.



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