Events and Programming
Study Day Open House
The 13th Annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture
The program will begin with a screening of the documentary Port of Destiny: Peace at 7:00 p.m. followed by the lecture by His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos and interview with Valentín Sierra, 2010 SJU graduate.
Port of Destiny tells the story of Santos' path to peace: As Defense Minister he waged war on FARC, a terrorist guerrilla movement; as President, he brokered peace—but paid a steep political price.
Tickets will be made available soon.
His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos is recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world. In January 2017 he was featured by the World Economic Forum as Statesman of the Year. Previously, on two occasions, he had been recognized by TIME magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world.
President Santos was born in Bogota on August 10, 1951. He was a cadet of the Naval Academy in Cartagena, studied Economics and Business Administration at the University of Kansas and pursued graduate courses at the London School of Economics and Political Science and at the Harvard Kennedy School. He was also a Neiman Fellow of Harvard University.
He began his public service career as Head of Colombia’s Delegation to the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in London. He was the last Designee to the Presidency of the Republic (a position that was later folded into the office of Vice President), and the first Foreign Trade Minister, where he led the economic liberalization to modernize and enhance Colombia’s competitiveness in the world market. He chaired the Eighth United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. President Santos also served as Finance and Public Credit Minister, where he successfully handled the worst economic crisis in Colombia in the last 80 years. He was also National Defense Minister, where he gave the toughest blows to the FARC guerrilla, which eventually led them to the negotiating table.
In 1994, he founded the Buen Gobierno (Good Government) Foundation and later on, in 2005, the political party of the National Unity (Partido de la U), which is to date the greatest political force of the country.
He practiced journalism as op-ed columnist and deputy editor of El Tiempo newspaper. He received the King of Spain International Journalism Award and was President of the Commission of Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Press Association (SIP). He has published several books, including The Third Way, which he wrote with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Jaque al Terror (Checkmate to Terror), in which he describes how he successfully fought the FARC.
On June 20, 2010, he was elected President of the Republic of Colombia where he obtained the highest number of votes in the history of the country. During his campaign, he offered to lead a Government of National Unity, to make the transition from Democratic Security to Democratic Prosperity and announced that he would seek peace with the FARC.
In June 2014, he was re-elected as President of Colombia for the constitutional period 2014 - 2018, with a political platform based on three pillars: Peace, Equity and Education. During his administration, Colombia became the region´s leader in economic growth, job creation, reduction of poverty and extreme poverty, sustainable development and the enhancement of Information and Communications Technology. During his tenure, he also reduced the housing deficit by half and launched the most ambitious infrastructure plan in Colombia's history.
Due to his tenacity and determination to achieve peace and reconciliation in Colombia, in 2016 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him "for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end".
Valentín Sierra ’10 is a Master of Public Policy (MPP) candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School Leadership Institute (HGSLI), and Master of International Economics and Finance (MIEF) from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He currently serves as President of the Harvard Colombian Student Society (HCSS) at Harvard University and also represented his peers in the SAIS Student Government.
Sierra holds a B.A. in political science and economics from Saint John’s University, where he served as the first student coordinator of the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy & Civic Engagement while also leading CSB/SJU’s International Affairs Society and Model United Nations team. Sierra also became the first international student in the history of St. John’s University to earn the coveted academic distinction Phi Beta Kappa.
CSB/SJU Day at the Capitol - Legislative Leaders Reception
The Eugene J. McCarthy Center is hosting a CSB/SJU Alumnae/i Reception in the Capitol following the CSB/SJU Day at the Capitol. Students will have the opportunity to meet and network with CSB and SJU alums who work at the Capitol, including legislators, government relations leaders, and legislative staff.