Colombian President Reflects on Adaptive Leadership in Nobel Prize Speech

Juan Manuel Santos is the latest alumni of Harvard's Adaptive Leadership curriculum to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The President of Colombia received the honor for his part in brokering peace in Colombia and ending over fifty years of armed conflict.  In his speech, Santos described the difficulty in negotiating with FARC as well as those who demanded retribution instead of amnesty, and reflected on advice from Ronald Heifetz as crucial in helping him to keep going.

'Victims want justice, but most of all they want to know the truth, and they – in a spirit of generosity – desire that no new victims should suffer as they did.

Professor Ronald Heifetz, founder of the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, from which I graduated, once gave me a wise piece of advice:

"Whenever you feel discouraged, tired, pessimistic, talk with the victims. They will give you the push and strength to keep you going."

And it has been just this way. Whenever I had the chance, I listened to the victims of this war and heard their heartbreaking stories. Some of them are here with us today, reminding us why it is so important to build a stable and lasting peace.'


Read the full lecture here:

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