Congratulations to President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia on award of Nobel Peace Prize

07 October, 2016

ODID extends its congratulations to President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, 7 October 2016.

ODID has been honoured to be associated with President Santos through his involvement with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a research group based at the department that is developing new ways of measuring poverty in all its dimensions.

Colombia was one of the first countries in the world to draw on a methodology devised at OPHI, the Alkire-Foster methodology, to develop a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). The MPI is helping the country to coordinate and deliver accelerated poverty reduction in accordance with ambitious targets set in its national plan. 

President Santos has also been actively involved with the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), a South-South network of countries developing, using, or exploring multidimensional poverty measures, which was co-founded by OPHI. He launched the network, together with Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen, at a meeting in Oxford in 2013 and hosted a meeting of the MPPN in Cartagena in June 2015.

At a speech delivered at a MPPN side event at the United Nations General Assembly in September this year, he stressed that reducing poverty in all its dimensions is vital to a stable peace:

“The challenge before us to build a stable and lasting peace goes hand in hand with the goal of overcoming poverty and recommitting to building a new country with a better future for our children, who no longer will be part of the conflict, but instead will be in their schools, in their homes.”

His speech was delivered by Tatyana Orozco, Director of the Department of Social Prosperity, as President Santos was obliged to return to Colombia in the days leading to the signing of the final peace accord with FARC.

Sabina Alkire, OPHI Director, described President Santos as ‘a scholar with a curious and rigorous mind, a journalist keen on changing hearts as well as minds, and a politician seeking to use his formidable energies and skills to redress disadvantage and build peace.’

‘Amartya Sen appeals to us not to become “coolly accustomed” to poverty and destitution, but rather to turn with determination to redress these. President Santos has led the way, and we salute him.’

Photograph: President Santos with OPHI Director Sabina Alkire at the MPPN launch. Credit: Zach Damberger.