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IE University celebrates the class of 2021 – 2,500 students from 140 countries – with a graduation keynote by Colombian diplomat Carolina Barco

Carolina Barco | IE University

The virtual and immersive graduation ceremony comes after a series of in-person events held on campus for the graduating students of IE University’s five schools.

IE University has celebrated the virtual graduation of the class of 2021 with 2.500 students from 140 countries attending undergraduate and master’s degree programs. The graduation ceremony featured a keynote address by Carolina Barco, IE Business School Executive MBA graduate and a Colombian-American diplomat who has held the positions of Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S. and Spain, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, who shared with the students her experience and her vision of the challenges and opportunities in the post-Covid world.

The digital and immersive event was attended by Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University; Salvador Carmona, Rector of IE University, and the Deans of IE Business School, IE Law School, IE School of Architecture and Design, IE School of Global and Public Affairs, and IE School of Human Sciences and Technology.

Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño highlighted the importance of innovation at IE University. “The pandemic has prompted us to explore new formats and bet on our liquid learning methodology,” he said, referring to the training model that allows students to attend classes in person or connect remotely simultaneously through screens installed in classrooms, offering the same immersive experience and academic excellence.

“IE University has fostered community awareness and promoted diversity and inclusion during the pandemic with the purpose of promoting positive change through education, research and innovation.”

Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University

The IE University President called on graduates to maintain the same levels of excellence in their personal lives and careers in the future. “In this increasingly globalized and interconnected world, our mission is to improve our environment, create sustainable value and wealth, and make a commitment to social responsibility in building a better world. And you are not alone in this task. You have the support of the entire IE University community.”

Courage to take on new challenges

Carolina Barco recalled her first stay in Spain, from 1979 to 1985, after which she returned to Colombia to support her father, Virgilio Barco, during the presidential campaign that he won and led him to lead the Colombian government from 1986 to 1990. “From his example I learned the importance of courage, the courage to face difficult decisions. We all have the opportunity to take a stand, however difficult, and make a difference. I encourage you to accept these challenges and face them with determination and perseverance,” she advised.

In 2006, Barco was Colombia’s first female Ambassador to Washington. “But times had changed, and my counterparts were Condoleezza Rice, then Hillary Clinton, and later Nancy Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House,” she has noted. “You will face many challenges as you go through your career and you will encounter twists and turns as I did.”

“Show an open mind, look at new proposals, strengthen your skills, surround yourselves with good teams to work with and you will find new ways to serve others.”

Carolina Barco, IE Business School Executive MBA graduate and a Colombian-American diplomat