Juan Manuel Santos – Keynote Speaker

Member of The Elders; 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; President of Colombia (2010-2014; 2014-2018)

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Specialist Subjects

  • Port of Destiny: From the Impossible to the Possible
  • Making tough decisions in times of crises
  • From Crisis to Prosperity: The Global Economic Outlook
  • Sustainable Development: The Key to a Lasting Peace
  • From Colombia to the World: The Future Global Landscape


  • English


Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, President Santos ushered in a new era of prosperity, peace, equity, and education throughout Colombia during his the two-term tenure (2010-2014 and 2014-2018).

Due to his tenacity and determination to achieve peace and reconciliation in Colombia, in 2016 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded President Santos the Nobel Peace Prize “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.” Santos has also been twice-named to TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” and was honored with the World Economic Forum’s Global Statesman Award.

During his administration, Colombia became the region´s leader in economic growth, job creation, reduction of poverty and extreme poverty, sustainable development and the enhancement of Information and Communications Technology. In addition, his administration reduced the housing deficit by half and launched the most ambitious infrastructure plan in Colombia’s history. He has also published several books, including The Third Way, which he wrote with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Jaque al Terror (Checkmate to Terror), in which he describes how he successfully fought the FARC.

Santos is currently the Chairman of the Board of Compaz Foundation, which he created to promote peace, protect the environment and fight poverty, mainly through grassroot leadership. He is also part of The Elders and the Global Commission on Drug Policy, as well as a member of the board of the International Crisis Group and the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is a visiting professor at Oxford University. In addition, he is a member of the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, and he was Conservation International’s Arnhold Distinguished Fellow for three years.

Sought-out to speak everywhere from Harvard University to the World Economic Forum, in his compelling keynotes Santos shares his reflections on the challenges of leadership, revealing what allowed him to change Colombia’s history and make the impossible, possible. He delivers a message of unity and humanity that is inspiring, refreshing and necessary amid these turbulent political times. Santos also offers shrewd insights and analysis on issues such as the global economic outlook, global security, and foreign affairs.

Popular Talks by Juan Manuel Santos

Port of Destiny: From the Impossible to the Possible

In his determined efforts to bring peace to a country that had been plagued by civil war for five decades, President Juan Manuel Santos helped make the impossible, possible. In this moving, empowering, and captivating talk, he shares the lessons learned, his insights on leadership, and the true meaning behind his powerful maxim: that if you have a port of destiny, a true passion or calling, even the most unfavorable winds can help you reach your destination. Santos risked his career and his legacy to bring peace to his people, and he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his transformative efforts. Now the subject of an inspiring documentary Port of Destiny: Peace, Santos can take audiences behind the scenes of the most crucial moments and decisions of his life, ultimately illuminating a path forward and moving audiences to make a positive impact in their own lives and achieve their goals despite any and all obstacles.

Making tough decisions in times of crises

Humanity is going through an unprecedented crisis. In difficult times, it’s the vision of bold and innovative leaders that enables tough decisions to be made today to build a better future. The experience of Juan Manuel Santos is proof of this. His leadership as Minister of Finance allowed Colombia to overcome an unprecedented economic crisis at the beginning of the 21st century. Subsequently, from the Ministry of Defense, he gave drug trafficking networks, organized crime, and terrorist groups the most successful military coups in the country’s history. And, as president of Colombia (2010-2018), he put an end to an armed conflict of more than 50 years; this milestone earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. During his government, the country reached record figures in economic growth, infrastructure, and the fight against poverty. Recognized for his conciliatory and constructive vision, President Santos’ career shows that, amid a polycrisis, it is possible to make difficult decisions that improve the quality of life of millions of people around the world.

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