Former President of Colombia, Iván Duque, has visited IE University this week as the first Fellow for the newly established Distinguished Fellowship Program at IE University’s School of Politics, Economics, and Global Affairs. During his visit to Madrid, he delivered a seminar and several master classes sharing his experience in leadership and public service and encouraging students to leverage their education at IE University to drive positive change in their future careers.
Mr. Duque, who served as the President of Colombia from 2018 to 2022, participated in a series of events, discussions, and meetings, engaging in conversations with IE University’s community and in particular with the students and faculty of the IE School of Politics, Economics, and Global Affairs, who hail from 160 countries. Additionally, he took part in different exchanges with leaders from the public sector, the corporate world and the academic and think tank community.
During this week-long visit to IE University, Mr. Duque had meetings with CEO Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, President Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño, and Provost and Dean of IE School of Politics, Economics and Global Affairs, Manuel Muñiz. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from the keys to a sustainable future to the necessity for a humanistic education.
In addition to these discussions, he taught the course “Leadership in Times of Crisis” for students of the Master in International Relations, Master in International Development and Master in Applied Economics of IE School of Politics, Economics and Global Affairs. He also participated in mentoring sessions with students and delivered a master class for undergraduate students of international relations and economics on the “The Strategy and Reality of achieving the SDGs: The Case of Colombia”.
Mr. Duque engaged with students from across the globe with diverse backgrounds, discussing pressing global concerns such as climate change, political instability, the rise of populism, demographic crises, labor markets, and immigration. He also discussed the current situation and future prospects of the Latin America region. Throughout his interventions, he emphasized the importance of education in empowering individuals to pursue meaningful and impactful careers, highlighting the necessary skills for such pursuits.
On his final day at IE University, Mr. Duque presented his last book, “Our Future”. The book, recently launched at the COP28 in Dubai, outlines a roadmap for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to address the current environmental and sustainability crisis. In this event, during a conversation with Isabela del Alcazar, Global Head of Sustainability at IE University, Mr. Duque emphasized the importance of addressing climate change asymmetries, the growing power of the Global South and the need for ethics in the 21st century.
Taking the opportunity, Mr. Duque encouraged young students to strive for sustainability and make a positive impact on the world. “Sustainability is vital and transcends political affiliations; it is neither right nor left”, he said.
Throughout his week in Madrid, Mr. Duque met with Colombian students and encouraged them to think about their contributions to discussions on education, sustainability, health and employment, emphasizing the importance of their roles in shaping the future of Colombia. Expressing pride in the strength he observed in the students, Mr. Duque remarked: “I feel proud to see all of you, and when one witnesses the strength I see in you, one knows that there is hope.”
He also called upon the students at IE University to consider engaging with the public sector, stating, “For those aspiring to be entrepreneurs: many business leaders say, 'I stay out of politics,' but in Latin America, if an entrepreneur doesn't get involved in politics, politics gets involved with him. Getting involved in politics doesn't necessarily mean joining a party; it means actively using your voice to sow seeds among those who depend on you and are motivated by you.”
IE School of Politics, Economics, and Global Affairs (SPEGA) runs the Distinguished Fellowship Program to bring the student and educational community closer to prominent international leaders. These public figures significantly enrich the academic environment, provide invaluable insights to students, promote knowledge, and help broaden global perspectives across the institution.