Juan Manuel Santos

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  • President of Colombia (2010-2018)
  • Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, 2016
  • Former Foreign Trade Minister, Finance and Public Credit Minister, and National Defense Minister of Colombia

Juan Manuel Santos is the two-term President of Colombia (2010-2014 / 2014-2018). Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, President Santos ushered in a new era of prosperity, peace, equity, and education throughout Colombia during his tenure. 

Due to his tenacity and determination to achieve peace and reconciliation in Colombia, in 2016 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded President Santos the Nobel Peace Prize "for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end." Santos has also been twice-named to TIME’s "100 Most Influential People" and was honored with the World Economic Forum’s Global Statesman Award.

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. In addition, his administration reduced the housing deficit by half and launched the most ambitious infrastructure plan in Colombia's history.  He also 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.

Sought-out to speak everywhere from Harvard University to the World Economic Forum, in his compelling keynotes Santos shares his reflections on the challenges of leadership, revealing what allowed him to change Colombia's history and make the impossible, possible. He delivers a message of unity and humanity that is inspiring, refreshing and necessary amid these turbulent political times. Santos also offers shrewd insights and analysis on issues such as the global economic outlook, global security, and foreign affairs.

 

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Rave Reviews About Juan Manuel Santos
President Santos was wonderful in every way.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Juan Manuel Santos
  • World Economic Forum
  • DePauw University
  • Me to We Foundation
  • University of Virginia
  • Harvard University
Keynote - Lead with hope, not fear | Harvard Kennedy School Commencement [34:44] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Juan Manuel Santos's Talks
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Port of Destiny: From the Impossible to the Possible

In his determined efforts to bring peace to a country that had been plagued by civil war for five decades, President Juan Manuel Santos helped make the impossible, possible. In this moving, empowering and captivating talk, he shares the lessons learned, his insights on leadership, and the true meani ...

In his determined efforts to bring peace to a country that had been plagued by civil war for five decades, President Juan Manuel Santos helped make the impossible, possible. In this moving, empowering and captivating talk, he shares the lessons learned, his insights on leadership, and the true meaning behind his powerful maxim:  that if you have a port of destiny, a true passion or calling, even the most unfavorable winds can help you reach your destination. Santos risked his career and his legacy to bring peace to his people, and he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his transformative efforts. Now the subject of an inspiring documentary Port of Destiny: Peace, Santos is able to take audiences behind the scenes of the most crucial moments and decisions of his life, ultimately illuminating a path forward and moving audiences to make a positive impact in their own lives and achieve their goals despite any and all obstacles.  

From Colombia to the World: The Future Global Landscape

In his eight years as President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos transformed a country that was once the murder capital of the world into a global destination for investment and tourism.  Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, Santos’ tenure is marked by his efforts to bring ...

In his eight years as President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos transformed a country that was once the murder capital of the world into a global destination for investment and tourism.  Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, Santos’ tenure is marked by his efforts to bring Colombia’s five decade civil war to an end—for which he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize-- transforming Colombia’s economy into the region’s leader in economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction, his unwavering commitment to the environment, and his leadership on education. Drawing on Colombia’s remarkable successes, Santos offers shrewd insights into the future global landscape and an urgent message of unity and humanity that is crucial amid these turbulent political times. Informative and inspiring, he provides analysis on themes ranging from fostering growth in emerging markets and sustainable development, to global security and how to build a lasting peace.

Sustainable Development: The Key to a Lasting Peace

In his path to ending one of the world’s longest armed conflicts, President Juan Manuel Santos pursued sustainable development to achieve a long-lasting peace and was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his determined efforts. Redefining peace around the world, Santos shares his reflections on th ...

In his path to ending one of the world’s longest armed conflicts, President Juan Manuel Santos pursued sustainable development to achieve a long-lasting peace and was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his determined efforts. Redefining peace around the world, Santos shares his reflections on the importance of protecting biological and cultural diversity as well as enhancing social justice. During Santos’ tenure, Colombia led the international agenda to develop the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thanks to his unwavering commitment to the environment, Santos was granted numerous prestigious international awards, including from National Geographic, Kew Gardens and the Wildlife Conservation Society. In this powerful speech, Santos offers illuminating insights into sustainable development, and how the keys to a lasting peace, conflict resolution, protection of the world’s biodiversity, and poverty reduction are inextricably connected.

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<p>President Juan Manuel Santos is the subject of a powerful documentary </p>

President Juan Manuel Santos is the subject of a powerful documentary 

A new documentary Port of Destiny: Peace tells the powerful and inspirational story of Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner JUAN MANUEL SANTOS' pursuit of peace in Colombia after five decades of civil war. A fascinating, illuminating and inspirational documentary, Port of Destiny reveals how Santos' bold leadership, strategic foresight, and dedication to peace transformed a country that was once the murder capital of the world into a global destination for investment and tourism. Directed by Emmy Award-winner Robert Abbot, Port of Destiny features interviews with former President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair-- who offer intimate praise and perspective of their friend-- to tell the story of how Santos, a former military hawk, risked his career and his legacy to bring peace to his people. The documentary title, "Port of Destiny," is taken from one of Santos' signature maxims: that if you have a port of destiny, a true passion or calling, it is possible to surmount any obstacle. A New York screening of the film drew a packed audience from the upper echelons of the finance world-- and featured a Q&A with former Morgan Stanley CEO and Chairman John Mack-- as Santos' story offers powerful lessons on courageous leadership, consensus-building, and decision-making in times of crisis applicable to the world of business. 

Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, Santos served two terms as President of Colombia from 2010 to 2018. His tenure was marked by transforming Colombia's economy into the region's leader in economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction (earning him a TIME cover entitled “The Colombian Comeback”); his unwavering commitment to the environment; and his leadership on education. A globally respected leader on trade and the global economy-- before the Presidency, Santos also served as Colombia's first Minister of Foreign Trade and as the Finance and Public Credit Minister-- one of Santos' last acts in office was the formalization of Colombia as NATO's first Latin American "global partner."

A gifted, dynamic speaker, Santos has addressed audiences everywhere from the World Economic Forum, to Harvard University, to WE Day, to the World Government Summit, to the Global Education Skills Forum. At every engagement he garners tweets of praise such as, "Final keynote speech by Colombian President-- Once in a lifetime moment," and reviews such as, "President Santos was wonderful in every way" (DePauw University).

One of only fourteen people in the world to have ever been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while serving as a head of state, on stage, Santos provides actionable, razor-sharp analysis on the global economy, foreign affairs, climate change, and global security. He also offers a vision of leadership, unity and humanity that is inspiring, refreshing and sorely needed amid these turbulent political times. He can also add full or partial screenings of the documentary (run time, 52 minutes) to his speaking engagements, to make any engagement even more impactful for audience members. 

Watch the trailer for Port of Destiny: Peace
<p>President Juan Manuel Santos is a sought-out voice on the environment </p>

President Juan Manuel Santos is a sought-out voice on the environment 

A leading voice on the environment and sustainable development, President JUAN MANUEL SANTOS was sought-out for one of the largest and most influential Earth Day celebrations in the world, Earthx2019. A Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, twice-named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People," and famed for bringing his country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, Santos is also renowned for his passionate commitment to the environment. During his tenure as President, he more than doubled Colombia's protected lands, earning him an award for "Unwavering Commitment to Conservation" by the National Geographic Society, and Kew's International Medal—making him the first head of state to ever be honored by the elite biodiversity institution. A National Geographic special, highlights Santos' efforts to make Colombia-- one of the world's most biologically diverse countries-- greener. Santos was also honored by Conservation International, alongside Vice President Joe Biden, with a Global Visionary Award thanks to his lifelong efforts to combat climate change. Sought-out to speak everywhere from Harvard Kennedy School to the World Economic Forum, Santos inspires audiences to work towards a better, more sustainable future. He regularly receives rave reviews such as the following: "President Santos was wonderful in every way." (DuPaul University)

<p>New Speaker Spotlight: Juan Manuel Santos</p>

New Speaker Spotlight: Juan Manuel Santos

President JUAN MANUEL SANTOS is recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, heralded for ushering in a new era of prosperity, peace, equity, and education throughout Colombia, and internationally admired for his transformative leadership on security, trade, and foreign affairs. The winner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his “resolute efforts to bring his country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end,” Santos was twice-named to TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” and is a recipient of the World Economic Forum’s Global Statesman Award, among numerous other prestigious awards. Beyond his adept negotiations in securing peace, Santos’ tenure as President is marked by transforming Colombia’s economy into the region’s leader in economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction, his unwavering commitment to the environment, and his leadership on education. Sought-out to speak everywhere from Harvard University to the World Economic Forum, Santos shares his reflections on the challenges of leadership, revealing what allowed him to change Colombia's history and make the impossible, possible. He delivers a message of unity and humanity that is inspiring, refreshing and necessary amid these turbulent political times. Santos also offers shrewd insights and analysis on issues such as the global economic outlook, global security and foreign affairs.

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Biography

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".

In his lectures, President Santos shares his reflections on the challenges of leadership, showing the elements that allowed him to change Colombia's history, making the impossible possible, by putting an end to a conflict of more than 50 years. Recognizing himself as a dreamer –as opposed to the hatred speeches and the exclusion that conquers frightened hearts– he delivers a message of UNITY... because our land is a single one and it is called THE WORLD; and our race is a single one and it is called HUMANITY. His message is undoubtedly inspiring and refreshing, particularly in a convulsive and polarized world such as the one we are living.

President Santos is married to Mrs. María Clemencia Rodríguez, with whom he has three children: Martín, María Antonia and Esteban.