10:25 | Princeton (U.S.), Feb. 27.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a Princeton alumnus, was praised by his alma matter last Saturday following a speech delivered at the prestigious university.
The speech at Richardson Auditorium kicked off campus activities for about 1,000 alumni and guests. Alumni Day 2017 included lectures, workshops, family activities and the presentation of alumni and student awards.
78-year-old Kuczynski earned a Master in Public Affairs in 1961 from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and received the James Madison Medal, the University's top honor for Graduate School alumni.
In his speech on Saturday morning, the Peruvian Head of State examined pressing issues from his perspective as a leader in Latin America and as an economist.
As is known, Mr. Kuczynski began a five-year term as Peru's president on July 28, having previously served in various government roles. He started his career at the World Bank in the early 1960s.
Prior the event, he visited U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.
"We had an interesting chat about Latin America. As I explained to him, Latin America is quite important in a way. We are 650 million people," Kuczynski recalled.
"It is still a growing place [...], but it is facing a huge challenge. That is because the world is changing so fast […]. And Latin America is behind in those changes, especially technology, and at the same time, we have huge changes going on in the world."
The president said he saw three major issues facing Latin America: perceptions of politics following government corruption scandals; the unequal distribution of public services and income; and world trade.
He added Peru also faces the challenge of a declining birth rate coupled with an aging population that is living longer due to public health improvements.
To address these challenges and continue to grow, "Peru must rely on productivity and innovation."
"You cannot grow simply through the force of a bigger, younger population. That's the big challenge. It's a challenge that has to do with education, but education in a very broad sense. Not just going to school. Technological education, information education, Scientific research," he expressed.
Ultimately, the prestigious alumnus said he thinks Peru needs "a social revolution based on [clean] water, education, health services" and "the only way to do that, of course, is to have growth."
Later in the day, Mr. Kuczynski also met with a group of students at Maclean House.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, a member of the Class of 1976, received the Woodrow Wilson Award, the University's highest honor for undergraduate alumni.
Following remarks, both of them were honored at a luncheon in Jadwin Gymnasium along with student award winners.
Article based on information provided by Princeton University.