Media Center

Press Release


  September 12, 2008

The Organization of American States (OAS) this week put the spotlight on the contribution made by the Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund over the past 60 years in promoting the objectives of the hemispheric organization.

Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador Deborah-Mae Lovell, who chairs the Leo Rowe Fund, led Member State representatives and the inter-American community in also paying tribute to the memory of the head of the OAS’ forerunner, the Pan-American Union. The revolving Fund was set up in keeping with the will and testament of Dr. Leo S. Rowe, who served as the Pan American Union’s General Director from 1920 until his death in 1946.

Over the past sixty years, the Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund has helped students from Latin America and the Caribbean as well as OAS personnel to pursue tertiary education in the United States.

The OAS Permanent Council passed a resolution marking the Fund’s important milestone, at its session on Wednesday. The Rowe Fund has disbursed more than 6,000 loans worth some $13 million since it started. As well, in commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Leo Rowe Fund, the Permanent Council resolution noted that over 1,400 loans have been provided to OAS staff members for their studies, for those of their dependants and for emergencies for a total of $3.6 million dollars.

Raising a toast during a reception afterwards, Fund Chair Ambassador Lovell described Leo S. Rowe as “an exceptional man of the hemisphere, who bequeathed the bulk of his estate so that others might be provided with an education.” She said Leo S. Rowe also embodied “the spirit of a true citizen of the Americas,” and urged support for efforts to ensure the Fund continues to thrive.

In saluting anniversary, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin told Member State ambassadors and other delegates of the Fund’s crucial role in strengthening capacity in member countries by providing training and scholarships. He urged continued support of Member States so the Fund can be modernized and better equipped.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Joseph E. Edmunds, a former Saint Lucia envoy and former Chair of the Fund, took the opportunity to recommend raising the loan ceiling. He also suggested an extension of the period for loan repayment to begin after completion of study, and went on to tell the reception guests: “The fact that the Leo Rowe Fund has lasted for 60 years is an indication of very good management.”

And, Secretary General José Miguel Insulza’s Chief of Staff Ricardo Dominguez, himself a beneficiary, gave a testimonial on the vital part the Fund plays in facilitating loan recipients’ pursuit of higher education.

Reference: E-344/08