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Leading Colombia towards Prosperity for All


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Speaker(s): Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
Chair: Professor Lord Stern

Recorded on 22 November 2011 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Juan Manuel Santos Calderón is President of the Republic of Colombia. Born in Bogota on August 10, 1951. He was a cadet at the Navy Academy in Cartagena; he studied Economics and Business Administration and carried out graduate studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Harvard University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

He was Chief of the Colombian delegation before the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in London; he was the most recent Designate to the Presidency and Colombia's first Foreign Trade Minister. He has also been Finance Minister and National Defense Minister. During this last position, he was in charge of leading the implementation of the government's Democratic Security Policy.

He created the Good Government Foundation (Fundación Buen Gobierno) and founded the political party Partido de la U in the year 2005, currently Colombia's largest political party. As a journalist he was a columnist and Deputy Director of the newspaper El Tiempo, he was awarded the King of Spain Prize and was president of the Freedom of Expression Commission for the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).

He has published several books, among which the most significant are The Third Way, co-written with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Check on Terror (Jaque al Terror), where he describes the most important actions against the Farc terrorist group during his tenure as head of the Ministry of Defense.

On June 20, 2010, (after obtaining the largest vote during the first round of the presidential elections which took place on May 30 of the same year) at the second round of the presidential elections, he was elected President of the Republic of Colombia for the four year period between August 7, 2010 and August 7, 2014. He obtained more than 9 million votes, the highest amount obtained by any candidate in the history of Colombian democracy. During his campaign, he promised to lead a government of national unity that would carry out the transition from democratic security to democratic prosperity.

President Santos is married to María Clemencia Rodríguez, with whom he has three children: Martín (21), María Antonia (19) and Esteban (16).

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