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Colombia is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. The United States and Colombia share a commitment to promoting security, prosperity, and democratic governance in Colombia and across the Western Hemisphere. Today though a vibrant democracy and a growing market oriented economy, Colombia is racked by internal conflict, domestic political and economic challenges, and a continued influx of refugees fleeing Venezuelan repression.
The recently secured peace with FARC ending a 50+ year internal conflict leaves Colombia still facing huge domestic challenges in addition to an ongoing conflict with the ELN, a dangerous secondary guerrilla movement. The economic downturn in petroleum prices has severely limited the revenue resources for Colombia in addition to the absence of an acceptable infrastructure so necessary to the economic and investment growth necessary to fuel reform measures that would nourish a depleted nation. Also facing Colombia has been land, education, and health reform issues.
According to the United Nations, 1.4 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia. Historically, Colombia has always been generous with its neighbor, Venezuela, but a half century of dealing with internal insurrection has diminished its capacity to deal with one of the worse humanitarian crises in regional history. It lacks the institutional framework to adequately deal with the humanitarian and economic crisis that has been generated by Venezuelan refugees fleeing across Colombia’s border to escape political repression and economic disaster by an incompetent Maduro regime. Colombia’s determination to create a reform agenda to deal with its domestic issues has been severely stunted by this massive refugee influx.
Ivan Duque’s government faces major internal and external challenges, and the Venezuelan crisis has added a layer of civic turmoil to a nation already facing monumental challenges. What must it do in order to deal with the refugee issue and its citizen’s yearning for normalcy when it faces an ever-belligerent neighbor to the north?
ACIR is honored to host Francisco Santos, Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, who will discuss the topic, "U.S.-Colombia Relations: Today and Tomorrow."
Former Vice President of Colombia (2002-2010); journalist. political and citizen participation activist.
Head of national debate of the Democratic Center Party in 2017. He ran for Mayor of Bogota on the Democratic Center Party ticket in 2015. He created the Fundación Confianza Colombia, promoting democracy and citizen participation in public affairs, as well as developing ideas in the political, economic and social spheres.
As Vice President during the Uribe administration, his policy priorities were the fight against corruption, extortion and kidnapping and ridding the country of anti-personnel mines. In that role, he also led Colombia’s international promotion of trade, investment and tourism.
Due to threats from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), he was exiled in Madrid, Spain, for two years (2000-2002). Previous to that, in 1990 Santos was kidnapped for eight months on orders from drug trafficker Pablo Escobar. He founded the world’s first NGO against kidnapping, Fundación País Libre and promoted the Anti-Kidnapping Statute, the first and, to date, only law proposed and tabled by public petition via signature collection in Colombia.
He held several editorial positions the newspaper El Tiempo throughout the 1980s including night Editor-in-Chief. In the late 1980s, Santos also taught journalism and international relations at, among others, Universidad Central, Universidad Javeriana and Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano.
Born on October 14, 1961 in Bogota; married to Maria Victoria García, they have four children: Benjamin, Gabriel, Carmen and Pedro. He completed his studies in the United States at the University of Kansas and the University of Texas, earning degrees in Journalism and Latin-American Studies, respectively. He was awarded the Neiman Fellowship at Harvard University and the Paul Harris Medal in 1993, the highest distinction given by Rotary International.
In the aftermath of World War II, Korea was divided into two zones with the Soviets in the north and Americans in the south. On June 25, 1950 North Korea invaded the South. United Nations’ forces responded, countering the attack. Chinese intervention on November 1, 1950 led to intensive warfare. An armistice was finally agreed to on July 27, 1953.
In the years since, violent incidents perpetrated by the North along the 38th Parallel, in nearby waters, and elsewhere have contributed to much tension on the Korean peninsula. North Korea’s bid to become a nuclear power continues in the face of South Korean and American efforts to dissuade the latest Kim to abandon his nuclear quest.
Moreover, three generations of despotic rule by the Kim family, characterized by sham elections and a Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship, have resulted in a nation that often confronts famine and a population that chronically suffers from malnutrition. A 2014 UN inquiry into human rights in North Korea concluded that, "The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world."
In stark contrast to the dystopian North, South Korea today is a vibrant democracy, has highly developed economy, with the world’s second best healthcare system, and is a major global trading power. Ironically, China, which has long supported North Korea, has become South Korea’s largest trading partner.
ACIR is honored to host Ambassador Chang Jae-bok, Deputy Foreign Minister, Republic of Korea, who will discuss the "Moon Jae-in government's Vision for the Korean Peninsula Peace process - Transforming the DMZ into an International Peace Zone."
Ambassador Chang Jae-bok was appointed Ambassador for Public Diplomacy at the Republic of Korea’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 2019.
Previously, he served as the Deputy Minister for Protocol Affairs and as the Ambassador for the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. He also served as Director for the Human Rights and Social Affairs Division as well as the Protocol Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Overseas, his most recent post was as the Consul-General of Korea in Milan and before that as the deputy Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris. He was also posted in the Korean Embassies in France, the Swiss Confederation, the Republic of Ghana as well as the Korean Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
Ambassador Chang received a Bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University in French Language and Literature. He is married with two sons.
Registration fee includes a 3-course luncheon.
The Luncheon/Discussion will take place in the Alexandria Room.
The luncheon will be followed by a reception, hosted by the Consulate of the Republic of Korea, with the ambassador and his team.
India has the sixth largest economy in the world, in terms of nominal GDP. India's diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Slightly less than half of the workforce is in agriculture, but services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India's output but employing less than one-third of its labor force. India has capitalized on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services, business outsourcing services, and software workers.
India and the United States have shared interests in promoting global security, stability, and economic prosperity through trade, investment, and connectivity. The United States supports India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity.
Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni is a career diplomat who holds M.B.B.S. (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree from the prestigious Government Medical College, Nagpur in India. She joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1995.
Prior to her appointment as Consul General, Consulate General of India, Atlanta, she served as Regional Passport Officer, Mumbai, Maharashtra (2014-2018), Consul General in CGI Cape Town- South Africa (2012-2014), Deputy Head of Mission in Muscat, Oman (2008-2012).
Dr. Kulkarni’s previous overseas assignments were First Secretary in High Commission of India, London (2005-2008), where she successfully worked as a nodal officer for preventing discrimination for Indian Medical Graduates after the implementation of new UK Immigration rules; First Secretary in the High Commission of India, Port Louis, Mauritius (2001-2003); and as a Third Secretary (Language Trainee) in Embassy of India, Spain (1997-1998).
At Headquarters, Dr. Kulkarni worked as an Additional Private Secretary to the External Affairs Minister and later deputed as Regional Passport Officer, Pune, Maharashtra (1998-2001) and as Under Secretary looking after Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein & Holy See, Malta, Portugal, Ireland and Spain (2003-2005).
Dr. Kulkarni is married to Mr. Vijay Jayant Kulkarni who is a Merchant Mariner by profession and has two daughters.
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