President Solís of Costa Rica Speaks at the Schar School

President Solís of Costa Rica provides a historical perspective of the evolution of Central America´s political, social, and economic development at the Schar School. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative ServicesThe Honorable Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, the 47th President of the Republic of Costa Rica, was on the Arlington Campus recently for two events sponsored by the Schar School. President Solís’s academic background and interest in history were evident in the talk he presented to Schar School faculty, staff, alumni, and students; participants from other elements of the Mason community; and individuals from our broader Arlington neighborhood.

In a talk entitled Costa Rica in Central America: a historical perspective, President Solís provided a brief historical perspective on the evolution of Central America's political, social, and economic development, with a focus on Costa Rica's unique path of development and the role Costa Rica has played in Central America. President Solís also addressed the risks and opportunities posed by current internal and external forces.

After his talk, President Solís joined Dean Mark J Rozell and President Ángel Cabrera for a Q&A period. When asked what role his country plays in addressing climate change, he noted Costa Rica already is dealing with rising sea levels, increased droughts, changes in the rainy season, and its first out-of-season—and deadly—hurricane in late November. “We have to press on with the Paris Agreement,” he said. “Costa Rica will keep its commitment.” From this event, President Solís traveled to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence.

Prior to the public talk, President Solís and Mason President Cabrera signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Costa Rica and Mason to study airborne viruses, with a focus on the zika virus. This important research will partner researchers in Costa Rica with researchers within Mason’s College of Science.

Watch the video highlights from President Solís’s visit to the Schar School.