I was deeply glad to receive the invitation to participate in Babson Founder’s Day, an activity organized by the Babson College Alumni Club of South Florida, and its oldest tradition since 1947. The occasion recognizes Babson´s founder and first president, Roger W. Babson, and gathers new generations of students with graduates who have become leaders of organizations of great relevance worldwide.
Through a video message, I told future students of my Alma Mater, as well as other graduates, the principles that have been the basis for the expansion, consolidation and globalization of the Cisneros Group, which are closely linked to the ones instilled by Babson to its students, such as leadership, integrity, responsibility and entrepreneurial vision.
Our President and CEO, Steven Bandel, who attended the event on my behalf, shared with the participants our philosophy and the way the Cisneros Group has evolved in eight decades.
This is not the first time I participate in activities with Babson College members; in 1981 I was elected as member of the Academy of distinguished entrepreneurs, and three decades later, I have reaffirmed the principles we shared at that time, which today represent my own philosophy. That is the reason why I would like to share with you my words of that moment, which I found more current than ever: Gustavo Cisneros’ speech: Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs (April 15, 1981)
I am immensely pleased with the recent opening of the exhibition “La Invención Concreta” in the Museo Reina Sofia of Madrid for two reasons. The first one has to do with the fact that it is the most comprehensive exhibition of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) held so far, and it is also the first time that this Collection has been shown in Europe. This has significance that is extremely important for us. Ever since we started our activities in the Fundacion Cisneros back in the 80s, our goal has always been to contribute to education, and the CPPC has been part of it. Today I can say that educational programs that we developed with great success in Venezuela and other countries of the Americas have reached educational communities of Peru, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico and even the Antarctic.
Thus, to be able to take 200 art works to the Reina Sofia Museum, one of the largest in Europe, is to give continuity to this conviction and commitment we have with education. The fact that people from different countries of the world can walk the halls of the Reina Sofia and enjoy magnificent works of renowned artists like Cruz Diez, Joaquin Torres Garcia, Gego, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark and many others, is to offer a new vision of Latin America and its artistic evolution. Moreover, this exhibition also features parallel activities for much of this year, which will enable the Reina Sofia visitors to participate in artistic and intellectual exchanges between Spain and Latin America, as well as the development and evolution of modernity and vanguard in our continent. Furthermore, La Invención Concreta goes far beyond the exhibition because it offers the public all kinds of interactive experiences within a large multimedia program that provides didactic information for each art work.
The second reason that makes me feel extremely satisfied with this exhibition is that as I mentioned sometime ago in an interview, I am convinced that this is the decade of Latin America. To be able to contribute to it, enabling public from all over the world learn about the development of Latin American modernity, is something that makes me deeply proud.
I invite you to explore the exhibition though the following link: www.lainvencionconcreta.org
Last December 16th I attended the Arab – Latin American Forum in Abu Dhabi as the moderator of the panel “Assessing the business climate in both regions and existing and potential channels for interregional trade relationship”. During that visit I was interviewed by John Defterios for the CNN program Global Exchange.
I am proud to continue confirming the interest in Latin America today in regions that may seem as far away as in this case the Middle East, the way the world has turned its eye to our region and how the growth of our economies becomes a greater focus globally.
During the interview, we were able to discuss the great transformation Colombia has undergone during the last few years, to become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Similarly, Bolivia was a topic of conversation, as it has returned to the international bonds market after nearly a century. In October, it had a successful return when it issued $500 million in bonds in New York, and received offers for eight times that amount. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest news items for the region in 2012.
Finally, the Brazil slowdown is another issue which caused a lot of concern outside the region. However, as I said in the interview, I am very confident that Brazil will soon return to the levels of growth it showed in previous years, because it has all of the elements it needs for this: a good government, an entrepreneurial society and a fast growing middle class.
In the past, I have talked about how Latin America is fast becoming a very attractive region for foreign investment. The world recognizes the stability that our region has shown throughout the recent economic shocks in the world, as well as the great potential we have in areas such as commodities.
The Arab region is no exception. Over the last few years, commercial relations between the two regions have grown and there is still a lot of potential waiting to be exploited. Therefore, with the aim of developing a strategic vision regarding areas of mutual concern between Latin America and the Arab world, in recent days took place, in Abu Dhabi, the IV Arab-Latin American Forum, lead by Leonel Fernandez, President of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE), and the honorable Jeque Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research.
I was honored to participate as moderator in the panel “Assessing the business climate in both regions and existing and potential channels for interregional trade relationship”, where Mohammad Halaika, Former Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs in Jordan, and Osvaldo Rosales, Director of the International Trade and Integration Division at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean participated as speakers.
On this occasion, topics such as growth tendencies, legal frameworks and the conditions required to enhance commercial relations between our regions were analyzed and evaluated.
The Arab World certainly offers great advantages in foreign trade as competitive tariff quotas, excellent port infrastructure and customs procedures, as well as a solid banking industry, which we should capitalize.
Arab countries currently import around 92% of food consumed, allocating $45 billion dollars for this purpose each year. This is definitely a great area of opportunity for Latin America. We need to work for capital flows between the Middle East and our region continue to increase, as well as fully capitalize on current trade agreements.
This Forum was definitely an excellent space to strengthen ties between both regions and understand which tasks are pending as well as areas on which our governments and entrepreneurs can contribute to maximize our commercial relations.
I offer my congratulations to Dr. Leonel Fernandez for this initiative.
I would like to share this link, where you can view other participant’s impressions of the Forum: http://vimeo.com/arablatinforum/videos
I recently attended the XXII Latin American Summit (Cumbre Iberoamericana) in Cadiz, Spain, where I participated as a speaker about one of the most important topics in media industry: content development for global audiences.
During my presentation, I described the extraordinary wealth of our region, and the fact that we don´t make the most of it, probably because we are not aware of the best ways to position America as a key region for global development. For that reason, I proposed to create a "Supranational Commission" to distribute information about Latin America, facts and events to other continents.
Keeping this potential in mind, in the specific case of media industry, I considered two key issues to address this new decade during my presentation:
1) To keep developing innovative formats, according to audiences requirements.
2) To evolve hand in hand with the new technologies.
During the forum, I was able to attend to the opinions of business leaders, like Jose Antonio Vera, President of Agencia EFE (the Spanish news agency), Leopoldo Gonzalez-Echenique, President of Corporación Radio Televisión Española, and Juan Luis Cebrian, President of Grupo Prisa among others. We all agreed that the main challenge for usin the industry is to capitalize all the potential and the economic growth of our region.
Recently, the Family Business Institute (Instituto de Empresas Familiares) held its National Conference in Barcelona, Spain. More than 400 people attended the inaugural luncheon, chaired by Prince Felipe of Spain, to listen to different presentations on family businesses and their potential for growth.
I had the opportunity to participate as a speaker about my greatest passion: Latin America. During my presentation, I described the region, its new look, and how it has become a big successful site for foreign investment due to the positive changes it has experienced in the last twenty years, which have generated solid incentives to potential partners and stakeholders
Without a doubt, Latin America offers today amazing opportunities together with natural resources, vast lands from north to south and an extensive population.
Cooperation and partnerships have proved to be right in the path of development for Latin America, which today shows a promising and stable outlook to the world. Only in 2011, there was $13,810 million USD of IED (Inversión extranjera directa) through so-called “multi-Latin” corporations in countries such as Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Colombia.
I am proud to be a witness and a spokesman of the region progress and development, and to put up everybody´s effort to continue betting on the time of Latin America.
Leonel Fernández, former president of the Dominican Republic, recently received the 2012 “Statesman of the Year” award from the Canadian Council for The Americas.
I was honored to attend the ceremony where Kenneth N. Frankel, the Council’s Chair, spoke about the boost the Dominican Republic has experienced during the past few years. Given my great affection for this country, I have been able to witness the outstanding changes described by Mr. Frankel.
The leadership displayed by Leonel Fernández has been pivotal in the growth of the Dominican economy, which has almost tripled in the last eight years Also, just as Mr. Frankel described during the ceremony, Fernández work has reached out far beyond Dominican borders. In fact, he became a key player in the region’s conflict resolution, and he also demonstrated great leadership skills when he coordinated international relief efforts for Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
That is precisely what I would like to highlight. If Latin America can face the world with a new face today it is thanks to leaders such as Mr. Fernández, who with a deep sense of unity, is aware of the need to project our countries as a single region in search of the common good.
Without a doubt, a well-deserved award.
Listin Diario: Premian a Leonel Fernández como el estadista del año 2012 (article in Spanish, “Leonel Fernández receives the 2012 Statesman of the Year Award”)
Every year, at its Honor Night Gala, the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) recognizes the role of advertisers, agencies, media, students and important personalities for their contributions to the entertainment industry and society in general.
This year, I had the honor to receive the special “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of the role of the philanthropic activities of the Fundación Cisneros in Latin America and for my career in the entertainment industry.
I feel very proud of this distinction since it represents many decades of effort devoted to improving education in the region as a catalyst for development. Today, Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are part of our business strategy. This means that each new project or business venture we undertake includes a contribution to the community where it resides that fosters development and well-being for its inhabitants, and strives to provide them with the tools they need to become more competitive in a more demanding society.
You can see those activities in the video that follows:
Recently, my wife Patricia and I had the opportunity to host a dinner at which the CEDIMAT Cardiovascular Center project was introduced to Dominican entrepreneurs, a complex that not only will be the first of its kind in the Dominican Republic, but is also shaping up to be one of the largest in Latin America.
We were honored by the presence of His Eminence Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Chairman of the Board of CEDIMAT – who noted that this center is built following the regulations of the Joint Commission International, which will makes it the first world-class center in Dominican Republic.
Dr. Pedro Ureña –Director of the Cardiovascular Center- explained that investment for the construction of this facility is US$60 million. It will be ready in late 2013 and will feature the latest technology and the highest quality services.
The CEDIMAT Cardiovascular Center is a key project for Health, Education and Tourism sectors in the Dominican Republic.
I am convinced that projects like this one, intended to express solidarity and unity, help nations achieve equality and well-being.
I was able to attend the First Summit of the Americas 2012, in Cartagena, Colombia, in my opinion a historic meeting, because there was consensus on the need to progress, to have a higher economic growth, to create new jobs and more quality education throughout the hemisphere.