On Monday July 1, 2013, Dr. Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize, visited Universidad de Las Américas in Quito, Ecuador. During his visit Dr. Arias met with leaders at a lunch organized in his honor and delivered a speech to a full auditorium, which was attended by UDLA students and faculty as well as members of the public. The theme of his conference was "Democracy and Liberty" and specifically how representative government and equity exist in the countries of Latin America.
Dr. Arias was elected president of Costa Rica in 1986. In office, he began an active campaign for democracy and peace for the countries of the region. He drafted the Arias Peace Plan, which was signed by five Central American presidents on Aug. 7, 1987. That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and a year later, he used the monetary award to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. In 2006, Dr. Arias was again elected president of Costa Rica. During his second presidency, Dr. Arias continued his mission to foster peace in the region through campaigns that advocated worldwide disarmament and regional free trade. He also worked to help restore order in nearby Honduras and promoted global improvement on environmental issues.
Dr. Arias has received more than 70 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities. He has also been awarded numerous prizes, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, the Liberty Medal of Philadelphia, the Jackson H. Ralston Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award and the Americas Award. In addition to UDLA Ecuador, Dr. Arias has visited many other institutions in the Laureate International Universities network including Universidad del Valle de México and Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. He participated in Walden University’s 48th commencement ceremony and received an honorary doctoral degree from the institution. He was also invited to address Laureate leaders at the 2010 Laureate Leadership Summit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.