Contributor: Resident Noora Mosafaei Shirazi
On December 5, 2023, the International Student House of Washington, DC, hosted its final Ambassador Speaker Series for 2023, welcoming H.E. Dr. Catalina Crespo-Sancho, the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States. Mrs Isabel “Didi” Cutler, a member of the Associate Committee of I-House DC, introduced the speaker and moderated the session.
Ambassador Crespo-Sancho has a long and prestigious career, spanning over 20 years of experience in international development. Renowned as a human rights expert, she co-authored the UN/World Bank report Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict.
Ambassador Crespo-Sancho introduced the audience to her country’s culture and explained its role in regional and international diplomacy. Costa Rica means “rich coast” in English, and people in Costa Rica often use the phrase “pura vida” to describe their state of being. “Pura Vida” means life is great in English, and it shows Costa Ricans’ attitude towards life in general.
Costa Rica is a leader in environmental conservation. Remarkably, 25% of its territory is dedicated to nature reserves and national parks, contributing to increased forest coverage over the past 40 years. The country is also a forerunner in sustainable energy, with 70% of its electricity derived from hydroelectric sources.
In its pursuit for peace, Costa Rica made a groundbreaking decision on October 11, 1949, when it disbanded its army, as decreed by the Founding Board of the Second Republic (Decree 249). This bold move, a first of its kind globally, reflects Costa Rica’s commitment to resolving conflicts through international law. The absence of military expenditure has enabled significant investment in social development and education, fostering the nation’s stability and prosperity.
To conclude the evening, the audience enjoyed a reception with the Ambassador. This fantastic event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the House’s sponsors and donors.
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