The Governing Council of Universidad Europea (UE) awarded an honorary doctoral degree to Ángel Gurría, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for his ongoing strengthening of the organization, his efforts to encourage global awareness, and his support for the construction of a knowledge-based society.
Gurría has been the secretary-general of the OECD since June 2006, following an outstanding career in Mexican public service that included two ministerial posts. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its membership by welcoming Chile, Estonia, Israel, and Slovenia, and begun the admittance process for Colombia and Latvia. The OECD has also strengthened ties with major emerging economies like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
With this ceremony, which took place on the Villaviciosa campus, Universidad Europea joins the University of Leeds, Haifa University and Bratislava University, among others, which have previously recognized Gurría.
In an emotional speech to students, Gurría reflected on what it means to serve others, beginning his remarks by expressing his gratitude at being awarded an honorary degree by an institution with a clear European and international focus, and proud commitment to the public, concerns that have fueled his excitement and enthusiasm to fight to solve the world’s problems. Service to others, he said, “is the constant search for policies that seek a better world and better opportunities.”
Gurría paid a heartfelt tribute to former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, who was in attendance, for his important role in yielding the presidency in December 2000, a moment that led to the first change to the controlling political party in more than 70 years.
Águeda Benito, rector of Universidad Europea, reiterated the OECD leader's remarks on the value of cooperation and its impact on universities. “Ángel Gurría,” she said, “embodies one of the fundamental ingredients of progress: cooperation. Cooperation implies participation, sharing, adding, advising, sometimes protecting, assisting, and always lending a hand. We all grow together."
Montserrat Gomendio, secretary of state for education, training and universities, and a member of the presidential endowment board, stressed Gurría’s long record of public service, and praised him as an example for all. The secretary also commended Gurría’s leadership, which has been key to the OECD’s ability to impact and influence governments that it advises.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.