Ingrid Betancourt – Keynote Speaker

Colombian senator (1998-2000) anti-corruption activist and an example of courage and survival.

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Ingrid Betancourt Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Society
  • Courage
  • Courage
  • Survival


  • Spanish


Ingrid Betancourt served in Colombia’s Congress and from 1998 to 2000. She is an anticorruption activist and former senator. She was kidnapped by Marxist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) while campaigning for the Columbian Presidency.


Ingrid Betancourt had been a critic of FARC during her campaign; promising to curb drug trafficking, corruption and FARC’s methods of kidnapping innocent people. She even met with FARC leaders, imploring them to end this inhumane practice, but in the end she became a victim of their rebel tactics.


She was held captive for nearly seven years in Colombia’s vast rain forest, a jungle so dense that the ground is completely invisible from the air.
On July 2, 2008, she was liberated with 14 other hostages in a daring rescue staged by the Colombian army. She has said often since her release that she does not seek revenge against her captors and favours dialogue and reconciliation to end Colombia’s decades-old guerrilla war.


Ingrid Betancourt has received multiple international awards, including the French National Order of the Legion of Honour and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She has also received the first Woman of the Year Award 2008 from the World Awards Association for her commitment to democratic values, freedom and tolerance.


In 2012 she enrolled at University of Oxford to pursue a doctorate Theology, and published her first novel with French publisher Gallimard entitled La ligne bleue (2014).

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