January 17, 2020
Why Colombia: Lecture by Ambassador Francisco Santos Calderón
Ambassador Santos is also a former vice president of Colombia, 2002-2010. Prior to being named Ambassador, in 2017, he was appointed as the head of national debate by the Democratic Center Party, a position from which he worked toward consolidating the national party at a regional level.
In 2015, Santos ran for Mayor of Bogota on the Democratic Center Party ticket. He created the Fundación Confianza Colombia, promoting democracy and citizen participation in public affairs, as well as developing ideas in the political, economic and social spheres. He served President Álvaro Uribe Vélez as vice president, while also leading Colombia's international promotion of trade, investment and tourism.
In the late 1980s, Santos taught journalism and international relations at Universidad Central, Universidad Javeriana and Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. On September 19, 1990, Santos was kidnapped on orders from drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, remaining in captivity for eight months. He was released on May 20, 1991. Following his ordeal, he founded the first non-governmental organization against kidnapping in the world, Fundación País Libre.
Santos studied Journalism at the University of Kansas, and Latin American Studies at the University of Texas.