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Colombian President Steps Out of Office and Into HKS Fellowship

President Juan Manuel Santos delivers an address about Colombia’s successes at the JFK Jr. Forum.

Former Colombian President Juan M. Santos will join the Kennedy School as its fourth Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow in the fall, according to a press release Tuesday.

On the last day of Santos’s eight-year-long presidency, Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf named Santos an Angelopoulos Fellow — a title previously held by several world leaders, including the former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and former Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.

The Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders program was conceived in 2011 to allow for outgoing and transitioning leaders to spend time in residence at HKS teaching, learning, and conducting their own research. 

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“President Santos is an accomplished public servant who has made a positive difference in the lives of millions of Colombians through his relentless pursuit of peace and security in his country,” Elmendorf said in a press release. 

A journalist and an economist, Santo received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a peace treaty between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest rebel group better known as the FARC. 

Before being elected president of Colombia in 2010, Santos also served as the country’s Minister of National Defense, Minister of Finance and Public Credit, and its first Minister of Foreign Trade. 

A 1981 alum of the Kennedy School, Santos also served as a Nieman Fellow for his time as a journalist and newspaper editor in Colombia. 

Elmendorf said in a press release he was “honored” to welcome the Colombian president back to HKS, and praised Santos’ “impressive leadership” in negotiating Colombia’s peace with the FARC.

Santos will “meet with students and collaborate with scholars and researchers” during the two semester long fellowship, according to the press release. He will also lecture and participate in public discussions and forums.  

Santos said in a press release that he was looking forward to returning to the Kennedy School, a “place that profoundly shaped [his] understanding of public service.” 

“This fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to share what I have learned during my time in office with the next generation of public leaders, and to continue my work on important public policy issues that I remain very passionate about, such as human rights, peace and reconciliation, poverty, and the environment,” Santos added. 

Santos will begin his fellowship in the upcoming fall term and will reside through the spring term.  

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at alexandra.chaidez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.

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