On October 24th, the former President of Costa Rica and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar Arias, visited Universidad del Valle de Mexico and shared his vision for the future of Latin America in the context of the global economic crisis.
The former president said that while the Latin American continent has proved to be the least affected by the global economic crisis, the countries involved are not going to join first world if they are not able to bring about reforms. He highlighted fiscal reforms, such as the creation of a system of progressive taxes to broaden tax collection, and education reforms, where it is necessary to create systems that evaluate teachers and improve the quality of education, focusing on training more scientists and fewer humanists, and increasing investment in research, development and technology.
"Asian countries have been implementing these kinds of reforms and the impact is evident," said Dr. Arias. "India is managing to lift people out of poverty and South Korea has also made great progress through focusing on science and technology education. If we continue the tradition of being predominantly lawyers and humanists, we will continue to lag behind the rest of the world," said the Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Regarding the war on drugs, Dr. Arias said that in this particular case, it is possible to achieve peace negotiations, since it is not an ideological conflict but an illegal business.
During the meeting with members of Universidad del Valle de México’s Advisory Board, Dr. Arias also said that free trade agreements have promoted the economic development of Latin America in recent years. He said that our country should take over these tools to sell to large markets such as Europe or Asia.
Former President Oscar Arias was visiting UVM as part of the partnership he has with Laureate International Universities. In 2010, Universidad Latina, another member of the Laureate International Universities network, created the "Chair for Peace Oscar Arias", to help students develop students negotiation skills and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Regarding the role of Laureate in the countries of Latin America, Dr. Arias said, they "are doing a great job of making a quality higher education that they otherwise could not access available to thousands of young people." He also invited Laureate universities to place greater focus on science and technology education to further contribute to the development of the societies in which they work.
This article was originally written in Spanish and has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.