A photo of the Auditorium on NEIU's Main Campus.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will deliver the 9th Annual Servant Leadership Lecture as part of Northeastern Illinois University’s Mossadegh Initiative. Her talk, titled, “Public Service in America’s Second Most Populous County,” will take place at 3:05 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Recital Hall on the Main Campus, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago.


The event is free and open to the public. A dinner will immediately follow. It is strongly recommended that reservations for the talk and dinner be made online by Jan. 29.   


Professor and Chair of the Department of History Mateo Farzaneh also serves as the principal for the Mossadegh Initiative. Established at Northeastern in 2013 with a mission to educate and financially support the University’s students in becoming responsible leaders, the initiative was named for the late Mohammad Mossadegh (1882-1967), the first democratically elected premier of Iran. Mossadegh saw himself as a “servant of the people.” The annual Servant Leadership Lecture invites current leaders to discuss how they share that vision of what it means to be a leader. The Mossadegh Initiative — and the scholarships and lectures it supports — is funded through donations


Toni Preckwinkle’s background of community service, roots in the classroom, leadership as Cook County Board President since 2010 and vigorous commitment to address broad systemic issues in our community are all reasons why she is a fitting speaker for the Servant Leadership Lecture series,” Farzaneh said. “We are grateful to host her at NEIU and look forward to her talk.”  


Preckwinkle is the 35th president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, an office she has held since 2010. She is the first Black woman to be elected to the office. A dedicated and effective public servant, Preckwinkle has worked to transform County government through increased fiscal responsibility, transparency, and improved services. As the top executive in Cook County, the nation’s second most populous county, Preckwinkle oversees one of the nation’s largest public health and hospitals systems and one of the nation’s largest criminal justice systems. She is also President of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, one of the oldest and largest forest preserve districts in the United States. The district receives an estimated 62 million visits each year, providing residents with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities.


Prior to holding elected office, Preckwinkle was a high school history teacher for 10 years before serving as an economic development coordinator for the City of Chicago and the executive director of the Chicago Jobs Council. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Preckwinkle came to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, from where she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She is the proud mother of two and grandmother of three.


Previous speakers of the Mossadegh Servant Leadership Lecture include:

  • Haleh Emrani, Ph.D., entrepreneur and scholar 
  • Kunal Metha, venture capitalist, author and former entrepreneur
  • Ervand Abrahamian, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies, City University of New York
  • Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, co-founders of Home Creations