Media Center

Press Release


  March 31, 2006

Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso asserted that education and security are vital to democracy and economic and social development in the Americas, and called for stepping up the process of state reform already underway in some countries of the region.

Headlining the 12th conference in the Organization of American States (OAS) Lecture Series of the Americas, Cardoso suggested that education must be made priority number one, which involves taking on the task of school reform. According to the former Brazilian leader, who spoke on the state of democracy in Latin America, the region’s problems are largely related to the need to promote education at all levels.

The Acting Permanent Council Chair, Ambassador Marina Valere of Trinidad and Tobago, introduced Cardoso to the audience, while Secretary General José Miguel Insulza welcomed him to the gathering of member state ambassadors and guests.

Cardoso, who was president of Brazil from 1995 to 2003, said that despite an economic dynamism and a good concentration of new technologies, the region can take better advantage of technological resources. He stressed the need to build on what already exists and to place greater emphasis on education as a way to bring more employment options and tap into the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. Cardoso cited progress being made in some countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Chile.

In his overview of the evolution of democracy in the region, Cardoso underscored the need to overcome a generalized impatience with the results of democracy. Globalization needs to be redefined so as to be more beneficial to citizens, he explained, adding that globalization should not be equated with homogenization.

Created by the OAS Permanent Council to promote democratic principles and values in the countries of the hemisphere, the Lecture Series of the Americas invites internationally renowned speakers to address key issues of the hemispheric agenda, such as the strengthening of democracy, human rights, social development, hemispheric security and the fight against poverty. The conferences are being held thanks to a financial contribution from Peru’s San Martín de Porres University and support from the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Hellenic Republic.

Reference: E-080/06