Panama 2015 | DIPLOMACY | COLUMN

TBY talks to Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, on synergies in Latin America.

Juan Manuel Santos

What is your vision for creating greater harmony and equality on the continent through education?

I believe there is a greater conscience throughout the hemisphere of the crucial role that education must play in the development of our nations. It is a common understanding that without education we cannot prosper or have more equal societies; this leads to constructive conversations about common purposes that put some of the old debates behind us. In Latin America specifically we simply haven't done enough to harness the talents of our citizens and we must cooperate amongst ourselves and with others in order to leap forward. The world isn't waiting for us to catch up. This spirit was certainly reflected in the most recent Summit. Colombia proposed the creation of an Interamerican Education System that can support governments in formulating policies that will significantly improve the quality of education and increase investments in knowledge, science and technology. Our proposal was well received at the summit to the extent that the OAS, the IADB (Inter-American Development Bank) and the CAF (Latin American Development Bank) all signed a letter of intent in which they agreed to promptly put in motion the actions needed to move forward on this initiative.