Rafael Correa keynote speaker

President of Ecuador (2007 – 2017)
  • Business potential and opportunities in Latin America
  • Geopolitics
  • International Development
  • Latin American Politics and Foreign Affairs
  • The Socio-Economic Situation in Latin America
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Dr. Rafael Correa has passionately pursued equality, human rights, and social justice throughout his career and led Ecuador through one of the most dramatic transformations in the history of Latin America.

Born into a lower-middle-class family in Guayaquil in 1963, Dr. Correa’s early life was not an easy one: living in a “bad part of town,” with a father who was absent, Rafael decided to “break-the-cycle” and spent his life pursuing a goal of giving all of his fellow citizens real opportunities for a better future – one without crime and violence, which was driven by Ecuador’s profound poverty.

In 2007, when Rafael Correa became President, Ecuador had one of the highest levels of social inequality (by GINI Index) in Latin America, a shockingly low GDP ($46.8 billion), and the country often suffered electrical blackouts and substandard infrastructure. During Dr. Correa’s two terms in office, Ecuador was the Latin American champion in reducing poverty and inequality due to the innovative reforms he designed and implemented. Thanks to these novel approaches, over his ten years in office, over two-millions of citizens were lifted out of poverty, the GDP reached $104 billion, internet penetration is one of the highest in the region and the infrastructure is now among the best in South America. Not only is Ecuador not facing black-outs, instead Ecuador today is a regional exporter of energy.

In addition to his successful Presidency, Dr. Correa served as the Minister of Finance (2005); the President Pro Tempore of South American Cations Coalition (UNASUR) (2009-2010); the President Pro Tempore Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) (2009 – 2010); and was the President of his political party, Allianza PAIS, for 11 years (2006 – 2017): Where he led his Party to win every national election for ten years straight. In fact, Pres. Correa’s approval rating as President was not only the highest in all of the Americas, it was one of the top-three highest in the world for years: Having peaked at 83% and stabilized to a multi-year average of about 70%; never having descended lower than 58%. One of the winningest politicians in the world, he has never lost an election in which he stood for office.

Thanks to a number of competitive scholarships, Dr. Correa was able to pursue higher education and achieved a Bachelor’s degree (Catholic University of Guayaquil, Ecuador), two Master’s degrees (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA), and a PhD (University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, USA), all in economics, with specialization in Economic Development, International Monetary Theory, and Public Finance. Pres. Correa taught economics at universities in Ecuador where he published a number of scientific articles and original research. He has been awarded 18 honorary doctorates.

Pres. Correa’s charismatic public speaking style has always contributed to his broad popularity and thus in his post-presidency, he hosted an international television show, interviewing global political leaders, famed intellectuals, and other people playing a role in the global political discourse of the 21st century. He continues to be an active writer, currently completing a new book about developing economies, and his earlier books are still in print and can be found in translation in numerous foreign languages.

Dr. Correa is fluent in English, Spanish, and French. He also is a beginner-level Kichwa-speaker thanks to the year he spent as a volunteer with the (Roman Catholic) Salesian Fathers in Zumbahua, Ecuador, designing, implementing, and controlling rural development projects for the indigenous population there. He is married and has three grown children. They reside in his wife’s native Belgium.

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