WASHINGTON — Former US president George W. Bush scrapped plans to address a summit of young business executives this weekend because Wikileaks founder Julian Assange would also speak to the group, his office said Friday.
“The former president has no desire to share a forum with a man who has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States,” his spokesman, David Sherzer, said in a statement.
“This week, upon learning that Julian Assange had recently been invited to address the same summit, President Bush decided to cancel his appearance,” said Sherzer.
The summit’s schedule lists Bush as making the closing keynote speech, while Assange does not appear, but the Denver Business Journal reported this week that the 39-year-old Australian was slated to address attendees via satellite.
YPO describes itself on its website as a global network of 18,000 successful young business executives in more than 100 countries.
It also says the summit aimed to foster a discussion of “the latest developments in globalization, the role of visionary leadership, and global political and social conflicts.”
“We regret that our members will not be able to hear from President Bush,” YPO International Chairman Jill Belconis said in a statement. “We hope to have him participate in another YPO event in the future.”
“YPO’s only mission is to enable members to become better leaders through education and idea exchange,” she said.