"If we want prosperity, we should not disembark from the train of Free Trade", said Dr. Oscar Arias, 1987 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president of Costa Rica. On Tuesday, July 23, Dr. Arias participated in the panel "Challenges and Opportunities of the Middle Class in Latin America", which was held in the auditorium at the Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC) Cuitláhuac campus. Other panel guests included political analysts Javier Tello and Jorge Javier Romero, and INEGI researcher Rodrigo Negrete.
Prior to the panel, Dr. Arias, the current chairman of the Advisory Council of the Laureate International Universities Latin America network–of which UNITEC is a member–gave a brief speech about the opportunities for the future of today’s youth and the importance of free trade in encouraging economic growth in Latin America.
In addition, Dr. Arias said he believed that young people were also a main factor and driving force behind economic growth as the future leaders of governments in the region. He said that today’s youth "dominate social networks, but only watch politics from the sidelines. They have better ideas to fight poverty, but are hesitant to propose them to the government, and instead stay in their comfort zones." Dr. Arias commented that the problem with social networks is that they are a means of protest, but rarely for proposal, and they would be of better use as a bridge to promote social welfare.
While at UNITEC, Dr. Arias also met with senior executives from the university, Laureate Mexico and representatives of international companies. This is the fifth Laureate International Universities institution that Dr. Arias has visited. In addition to UNITEC Mexico, the former President of Costa Rica has visited UDLA Ecuador, Universidad del Valle de México and Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. He also 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.