Alvaro Uribe Velez, President of Colombia
Alvaro Uribe was born in Medellin, capital of the department of Antioquia on July 4th, 1952. He is married to Lina Uribe. They have two sons: Tomás and Jerónimo.
Alvaro Uribe holds a degree in law from the Universidad de Antioquia and a post-graduate degree in Management and Administration from Harvard University. From 1998 to 1999 after being awarded the Simon Bolivar fellowship by the British Council in Bogotá, he worked as an associate professor at Oxford University.
During his last two years of High School and due to his excellent academic record, he was exempted from final exams, and as an honor student he was granted scholarships for the greater part of his university career.
Alvaro Uribe went into public service at a very young age. In 1976 he became head of the Real Estate Department of the city of Medellín’s Public Works.
From 1977 to 1978 he was Secretary General of the Labor Ministry and from 1980 to 1982, head of the Department of Civil Aeronautics. He was the mayor of his native city of Medellín in 1982 and later, from 1984 to 1986, he was elected as city counselor.
Alvaro Uribe was elected governor of the department of Antioquia for the 1995-1997 period, during which he developed a model of communal participation in key government decisions such as the creation of new jobs, education, the granting of official state contracts and public safety, which he called Community State.
During his term as governor, Alvaro Uribe sized down the number of government jobs by 34% and the number of official vehicles by 35%. Such savings in government spending meant schooling for 103.000 new students. As governor he also devised a program by which, 40.000 people received training in the peaceful negotiation of conflicts.
And 200.000 of Antioquia’s poor became eligible for free health care under the nation’s subsidized health insurance System.
Alvaro Uribe was also responsible for the paving of 939 kilometers of roads. More than double the amount of paved roads in all of Antioquia’s history. And extensive repair work was done on the roads which link Antioquia with the nation’s capital, Bogotá. The number of kidnapping cases in the department, went down by 60% thanks to the cooperation of the community with the local authorities.
He was elected Senator for the periods 1986-1990 and 1990-1994, terms during which he received the Star Senator, Senator with the Best Programs and Best Senator awards.
This year was chosen President of Colombia by the people by the period of 2002- 2004 with the conviction that Colombia needs to be led with moral authority and a strong sense of leadership.