UT Tyler Office of News and Information

Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias to Speak at UT Tyler

September 3, 2010

Media Contact:
Beverley Golden
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303 or 903.330.0495 (cell)


Costa Rican President and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Oscar Arias will be the first speaker of The University of Texas at Tyler Distinguished Lecture Series, Susan Thomae-Morphew, UT Tyler Cowan Center executive director, announced.

This lecture is jointly presented with Tyler Junior College.

Sponsored by Sherilyn and Patrick Willis, the lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21. Media sponsors are Suddenlink, CBS 19 and KTBB.

Arias’ topic for the lecture will be “Moral Leadership in Today's World.”

A post-lecture reception is sponsored by Mills Bays Wealth Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.

Tickets are $16, $21, $26, $31 and $36 and can be purchased at the UT Tyler Cowan Center box office, 903.566.7424, or online at www.cowancenter.org. Box office hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Arias served two terms as president of Costa Rica, 1986 – 90 and 2006 – 2010.

A 1987 Nobel Peace Laureate, he holds international status as a spokesperson for the developing world. He champions such issues as human development, democracy and demilitarization, and he has traveled the globe spreading a message of peace.

He earned the Nobel Peace Prize for work that culminated in the signing of the Esquipulas II Accords, or the Procedure to Establish a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America.

Born in 1940, Arias studied in the United States and the University of Costa Rica. As a student he engaged actively in the work of the National Liberation Party. Having completed his degree, he went on to earn a doctorate in England with a thesis on “Who Rules Costa Rica.” He also is the author of numerous books and articles on political and historical subjects.

He began his political career in 1970 as assistant to Jose Figueres, a former President who was seeking re-election. When Figueres was elected in 1972, Arias was given a seat in the government as Minister of National Planning and Political Economy.

In 1975 his party elected him International Secretary and in 1979 General Secretary. In the 1978 elections, when the Christian Social Unity Party won the presidency, Arias was elected to the Legislative Assembly but withdrew in 1981 to work for his party’s presidential candidate, Luis Alberto Monge, who won in 1982.

Nominated himself in 1985, Arias was elected President in 1986. As President, he intervened against the activities of U.S.-backed Contras on Costa Rican territory. Although critical of the political system in Nicaragua, Arias has concentrated on engaging Nicaragua and the other Central American states in a peace-making process.

In May 1986, he met the Presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to discuss the proposals for a peaceful solution that had been worked out by the Contadora group. They did not reach full agreement, but early in 1987 Arias succeeded in calling a new meeting at which he submitted his own peace plan, departing in some respects from the Contadora plan.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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 Last Published 1/7/11