1994 – Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, was named the winner of the 1994 Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

Gorbachev was chosen to receive the award in Spring 1994 but, due to scheduling conflicts, was unable to come to Louisville to present his ideas until October 5, 1995.

Gorbachev was honored for his December 1988 address at the United Nations, during which he called for international cooperation among nations, through the UN, to achieve a new-world order. “The United Nations embodies, as it were, the interests of different states,” he said. “Fresh opportunities are opening before it in all the spheres within its competence: military, political, economic, scientific and technical, ecological and humanitarian.”

Gorbachev used the speech also to announce major changes in the Soviet Union, including dramatic cuts in its military presence and in its nuclear arsenal.

Now head of his own foundation, Gorbachev has been credited with initiating the glasnost and perestroika movements, which led to the democratization of Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics, the effective end of the Cold War between East and West and the end of totalitarian rule in the Soviet Union.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his efforts to improve cooperation among nations.

Elected general secretary of the Communist Party in 1985, Gorbachev became chairman of the Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet in 1988. He was elected as the first president of the Soviet Union by the Congress of People’s Deputies in 1990 and resigned in December 1991.