Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oscar Arias Sanchez

Oscar Arias Sanchez is the current President of Costa Rica. He first assumed office on May 8, 2006 and is currently serving his second term.

His first term ran from May 8, 1986 and served until May 8, 1990.

The holder of honorary degrees of 50 universities his formal education included time spend studying in the US and UK.

Arias joined the National Liberation Party (PLN), Costa Rica's main social democratic party and in 1986 he ran successfully for president on that party's ticket. The Costa Rican constitution had been amended to include a clause which forbade former presidents seeking reelection. Arias challenged this in the Constitutional Court, which initially rejected his application in September 2000. Arias then used his considerable political connections and, with a majority of members favorable to his cause, succeeded at the second attempt -- April 2003 -- to have the constitution changed. After this change, Arias had paved the way for his second presidency and became the President of Costa Rica in 2006.

President Arias is best known as one of the driving figures bringing peace to the civil war in Nicaragua in the 1980s. For his efforts, Oscar Arias Sanchez received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.

In his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, he said “Peace is not a matter of prizes or of trophies. It is not the product of a victory, nor of a command. It has no borders, no time limits, nothing fixed in the definition of its achievements."

Being showered with fame and praise did not slow down his efforts to promote peace. If anything, it encouraged him to expand his attention from the recovering region of Central America to the entire world. He is actively involved with peace-promoting organizations around the world. He formed the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. Its goals include the demilitarization of places like Panama and Haiti and the creation of a global de-militarization fund. He strives to get the people of the world to understand security as something not based on the size of your army but on education, jobs, and health.

When asked "If you had one thing that you could say to all the young people of the world, what would it be?"

His inspiring answer is "I think the most important thing for the future generations is to understand that it is necessary to have ideals, to dream, to live a life of principles. It is necessary to understand that the brotherhood is more important than the self. It is necessary to comprehend that the problems of a neighbor in some way affect us, too."

This is the story of Oscar Arias, a man whose actions mirror his words.

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