GW hosted a convocation in honor of Costa Rica’s president at the future site of the new Elliot School of International Affairs building Tuesday.
University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg awarded Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez an honorary doctor of laws degree in order to continue the close relationship between Costa Rica and GW, he said at the ceremony.
During his acceptance speech, Rodriguez spoke about the conflicts plaguing his country and highlighted global education as the ultimate answer to his country’s domestic issues.
It took me until I was 60 years old to receive my doctorate of laws, Rodriguez said after he received the degree. But I confess myself an eternal student.
Rodriguez said Costa Rica has made progress during the past few years, but there was still more work ahead. He cited his relationship with GW as an example of important ties between Costa Rica and the United States.
The relationship between The George Washington University and the University of Costa Rica, through the exchange of faculty members and students is invaluable, Rodriguez said. We must strengthen the ties between our countries.
Rodriguez spoke of the importance of education as countries become more interdependent.
The men and women of the 21st century will transform the challenges of today into the opportunities of tomorrow, he said.
The convocation audience included Elliott School students and faculty, members of the press and representatives from Costa Rica. The Potomac Brass band played the national anthems of Costa Rica and the United States during the ceremony.
In an interview after the event, Trachtenberg addressed the possibility of a new program being developed between the University of Costa Rica and GW. He stated there are discussions taking place but plans have not been finalized.
We are reaching out to President Rodriguez and celebrating his accomplishments, Trachtenberg said. In the last year, I have gone to Costa Rica and visited the (University of Costa Rica), where we have had preliminary conversations about the possibility of stronger Latin American programs and possibly an exchange of faculty and students.
In 1998 Rodriguez was elected president of Costa Rica during what Trachtenberg described as a period of economic uncertainty and doubt.
Soon after his election, Rodriguez publicized his priorities for the country, which included building the economy, creating jobs, improving health and housing for the underprivileged and reforming the education system.
In addition to his political offices, he has written numerous articles on economics, politics and social philosophy for books and academic journals.
Rodriguez, who earned a master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the University of California-Berkley and a law degree from the University of Costa Rica, previously served as president of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly from 1991 to 1992.
This article appeared in the September 7, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.