Colombia’s Velez Named Visiting Professor at HGSEBy Jill Anderson
Colombia’s minister of education, Cecilia María Vélez, has been named the Robert Kennedy Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies. Vélez comes to the Ed School widely regarded as one of the most effective education ministers in the world. A visionary leader with a real talent to execute reform at scale, she led reforms to improve the quality of education in Colombia, where she has served as minister of education since 2002.
“I’m honored to be a part of HGSE,” Vélez said. “After spending the past 12 years in Colombia, developing education policies at the local and national level, I’m thankful for the opportunity that is being offered to me of spending a year discussing the efforts made, and the things achieved to benefit education. I’m convinced that the academy plays a crucial role in developing and implementing policies at any level. I hope to contribute to the HGSE community by sharing the dilemmas that those who direct education policies are faced with on daily basis and the ways in which academic research is necessary to solve them.”
Vélez will teach two courses at the Ed School: one in educational planning of education reform and another on the implementation of large scale education reform.
“I look forward to welcome Minister Vélez to HGSE, as I am certain her presence among us will enrich the education of our students and our collegial conversations on how to lead at the nexus of policy, research and practice,” said Professor Fernando Reimers, director of the International Education Program. “I expect that these courses will be of great interest to many students at HGSE, and particularly to students in the International Education Policy Program.”
In addition to the eight years she has spent leading the Ministry of Education, she served as Secretary of Education in Bogotá from 1998 to 2002. Previously she worked in various leadership positions in Colombia’s National Planning Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Central Bank, and in various private enterprises. Vélez earned degrees in economics and urban planning at Louvain University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.