September 18, 2002


Photo of Dr. Oscar Arnulfo AriasFormer Costa Rican President, Nobel Peace Prize winner to speak at Cameron University on Sept. 19

Dr. Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, will visit Oklahoma on Sept. 19 as the first of a notable lineup of speakers highlighting a year-long academic festival at Cameron University.

“Beyond Borders: Globalization and the Human Experience” is the fifth such festival staged by Cameron over the past decade. Each festival explores a different academic theme or issue through special events and activities.

Arias will lecture on moral leadership in the age of globalization during his Sept. 19 appearance in the University Theater on CU’s Lawton campus. The lecture begins at 7 p.m.

Although there is no specific model for the festival, it typically includes lectures, exhibits, conferences, symposia, workshops, concerts, exhibits and theatrical productions. The first festival, in 1991-92, examined the Renaissance and Columbus’ discovery of America. Later festivals explored cultural diversity, the impact of science and technology and how the millennium would affect life in the 21st century.

“Beyond Borders” seeks to continue that tradition as it explores the phenomenon of globalization - a growing consolidation of economic, political and military power by private corporations and a limited number of nation states. This amalgamation diminishes the importance of national and cultural boundaries, which some critics applaud as the best hope for world peace and free trade. Others portray globalization as a dire threat to national security and individual freedom. In addition to Arias, other notables scheduled to appear at Cameron are Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria (Nov. 14), Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond (Feb. 20, 2003), and Princeton University economics professor Paul Krugman and National Book Award recipient Elaine Pagels (March 27-28, 2003).

Arias is an internationally recognized spokesman for lesser-developed countries around the world who champions human development, democracy and demilitarization. A former college professor, he was appointed Costa Rica’s Minister of Planning and Economic Policy and later won a seat in Congress. He was elected secretary-general of the National Liberation Party in 1981. He was president of Costa Rica from 1986-90. Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his work to draft a plan ending a regional crisis that gripped Central America following the collapse of Nicaragua’s Somoza regime in 1979. His plan brought an end to civil wars and U.S. and Russian interference that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans. Since the end of his term as Costa Rican president, Arias has worked tirelessly to push human concerns to the forefront of the international agenda and impress upon more affluent nations the importance of moral leadership and compassion in an era of tremendous economic disparity among the global population.

Festival V events scheduled for later in the year include an Oct. 3 appearance by University of Missouri-Rolla professor Russell Buhite on how hostages and victims of terrorism affect U.S. foreign policy, a performance by internationally known marimbist Keiko Abe and a visit from writer/activist Lucy Lippard. A Jan. 25, 2003, dinner and gala, and the commissioning of a tapestry commemorating Festival V round out the celebration’s major events.

Story contact:
Keith Mitchell, Director of Media and Public Relations,