Skip to content ↓

Peace Nobelist Oscar Arias Sanchez to Give Lectures at MIT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace prize and former president of Costa Rica, will be the speaker for the 1996 Karl Taylor Compton Lectures at MIT beginning next week.

"Demilitarization: A Major Factor for Development" on Monday, Jan. 13 at 5pm is the title of the first of the three lectures that Dr. Arias will deliver. On Monday, Feb. 24 at 4pm, he will give a talk entitled "Latin America Facing New Challenges." He will conclude the series with "How Much Poverty can Democracy Endure?" on Monday, April 14 at 4pm. All three lectures, which are open to the public, will be in Rm 10-250 and will be followed by a reception.

In addition, the first lecture will be followed up by a small group discussion with Dr. Arias on Jan. 14 from 4-6pm in Rm 7-338.

Dr. Arias, 56, studied law and economics at the University of Costa Rica and earned a doctorate in political science from the University of Essex in England. After serving as professor of political science at the University of Costa Rica, he was appointed Costa Rican minister of planning and economic policy. He won a seat in Congress in 1978 and was elected secretary-general of the National Liberation Party in 1981. In 1986, Oscar Arias was elected president of Costa Rica.

The following year, Dr. Arias drafted a peace plan to end the political crisis in Central America. Widely recognized as the Arias Peace Plan, his initiative culminated in the signing of the Esquipulas II Accords, or the Procedure to Establish a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America, by all the Central American presidents on August 7, 1987. That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1988, Dr. Arias used the prize's monetary award to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. The foundation helped establish three programs: the Center for Human Progress to promote equal opportunities for women in all sectors of Central American society; the Center for Philanthropy to foster change-oriented philanthropy in Latin America; and the Center for Peace and Reconciliation to work for demilitarization and conflict resolution in the developing world. For more information on the foundation, see the Web site at .

Dr. Arias has received honorary doctorates from Harvard and several other colleges and universities. He has also received the Jackson Ralston Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Liberty Medal of Philadelphia and the Americas Award.

The Karl Taylor Compton Lecture series was established in 1957 to honor the late Karl Taylor Compton, who served as president of MIT from 1930-48 and chairman of the Corporation from 1948-54. The purpose of the lectureship is to give the MIT community direct contact with the important ideas of our times by those who have contributed much to modern thought.

The 1996-97 lectures are sponsored by the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the School of Architecture and Planning and the Provost's Office. For more information, call 253-2024.

Related Topics

More MIT News