On October 11, 2011, Dr. Carlos Larreátegui, Rector of Universidad de Las Américas Ecuador, recognized the contributions of José María Aznar, the Former Prime Minister of Spain, and Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, President of Banco de Guayaquil with Honorary Doctoral Degrees.
UDLA Ecuador awards Honorary Doctoral Degrees in recognition of a life time of work and dedication. José María Aznar was recognized for his public service and political leadership that contributed to Spain's continued development as a key member of the European Union. Guillermo Lasso Mendoza was recognized for creating a new and innovative model of banking (called "Banco del Barrio" or Neighborhood Banking), which was recently recognized by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB) as the year's most innovative project in Latin American banking.
Mr. Aznar delivered a very compelling speech during which he reminded the audience that liberal democracy, human rights and market based economics are models that have not lost any of their value and should be a focus of Latin American countries going forward so they can consolidate on their recent growth and success and continue to develop.
More than 200 people attended the ceremony, which was held in the Patio de Las Culturas at UDLA Ecuador's Sede Norte campus. In addition to UDLA students, faculty and leaders, the event was attended by cultural and business leaders as well as political leaders like former Ecuadorian presidents Gustavo Noboa, Sixto Durán Ballén and Osvaldo Hurtado. Mr. Aznar and Mr. Mendoza join Lenín Moreno the Vice President of Ecuador and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, who have also been recognized with Honorary Doctoral degrees from UDLA Ecuador.