Sergio Fajardo and CLAS

Sergio Fajardo and his wife, Dr. Lucrecia Ramírez Restrepo, in 2014. (Photo by Jim Block.)
Sergio Fajardo and his wife, Dr. Lucrecia Ramírez Restrepo. (Photo by Jim Block.)

Colombia's Sergio Fajardo has been a part of the CLAS community here at Berkeley since the early part of this decade.

Shannon O’Neil and Sergio Fajardo Valderrama at the U.S.-Mexico Futures Forum in 2011. (Photo by Megan Kang.)
Shannon O’Neil and Sergio Fajardo Valderrama at the U.S.-Mexico Futures Forum in 2011. (Photo by Megan Kang.)

We first met him as the innovative former mayor of Medellín, who had made that once-crimeridden city into a beacon of urban renewal with his innovative public spaces program, building beautiful parks and libraries in poorer neighborhoods to improve the integration of those residents into the city's life. He came to speak at our U.S.-Mexico Futures Forum in Berkeley in 2011.

Emmanuel Saez speaks in Berkeley as Sergio Fajardo listens from Colombia in 2012. (Photo by Jim Block.)
Emmanuel Saez speaks in Berkeley as Sergio Fajardo listens from Colombia in 2012. (Photo by Jim Block.)

In 2012, Fajardo participated in an innovative video conference with Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez on the growing issue of global economic inequality.

Sergio Fajardo speaks with audience members after his talk on education in 2014. (Photo by Jim Block.)
Sergio Fajardo speaks with audience members after his talk on education in 2014. (Photo by Jim Block.) 

He returned in 2014 to speak on his programs as governor of Antioquia, one of Colombia's most important states, where he promoted improved education, especially for young women, in setting a goal of making Antioquia la más educada - the most educated. See "Education as a Tool for Social Transformation"

 Sergio Fajardo teaching a CLAS seminar, Spring 2016. (Photo by CLAS staff.)
Sergio Fajardo teaching a CLAS seminar, Spring 2016. (Photo by CLAS staff.)

In 2016, Fajardo returned to teach a course on the effect of those efforts, again advocating education as the path most likely to produce fundamental changes in society to make it more equal, more just, and lessen the temptations of turning to criminality. He also spoke about the Colombian peace process, which was nearing its culmination in trying to end the violent confrontations with the FARC.

In 2018, Sergio Fajardo ran for President of Colombia, coming in third with nearly a quarter of the vote. He spoke on campus on October 2, 2018, on that campaign and his hopes and vision for the future of his country, and will be returning to Berkeley in Spring 2009 to teach a month-long seminar through CLAS.