Óscar Arias Sánchez talks about the impact of military and security spending on global economic development.
Oscar Arias Sanchez
Oscar Arias Sanchez was born on September 13, 1940, in Heredia, Costa Rica, a place known for its beautiful tropical forests, waterfalls and roaring rivers. His family was one of the nation's richest and owned large coffee-growing plantations.
After studying at the Colegio Saint Francis in San Jose, Oscar went to the United States and studied medicine at Boston University. He returned to Costa Rica in 1969, and started teaching political science at the University of Costa Rica. Three years later, he entered politics. In 1986, he was elected president of Costa Rica for the first time.
Oscar's charisma and loyalty to his people elevated him to the status of a national hero. He worked on their behalf, to improve their lives in every way. And the world recognized him for his courageous efforts in the Central American peace process in 1987, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
With the monetary award that comes with the Nobel Peace Prize, President Arias formed the Arias Foundation for Peace & Human Progress. The aim of the foundation is to promote peace, justice and equality in Central America - and serve as a model in these areas for the rest of the world. It has become one of the leading organizations in Central America.
The foundation has focused largely on disarmament and the end of the international arms trade, but it has also taken on many of the tougher social problems. It has taken up the cause of those most often victimized by the trafficking of drugs, arms and people - namely women and youth. While working with the foundation, President Arias has become actively involved with peace-promoting organizations around the world. Oscar Arias Sanchez strives to get the people of the world to understand that true security is not based on having a huge army but on providing people with education, jobs and health.
Currently the Arias Foundation is in the middle of revising and improving the Arias disarmament plan for Central America. It is collecting data on what has been accomplished, and looking to fill in any gaps that may have been overlooked in the original agreement. This is part of a larger effort by the foundation as it continues to work for peace and stability in Central America.
A few Years ago, the Costa Rican people "reinterpreted" their constitution in order to allow Oscar Arias Sanchez to run for president again. He won the election in January 2006 and in 2010 finished his second term as the President of Costa Rica.