Colombian politician, author and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt will present a free lecture tomorrow about her six and a half year captivity in the Colombian jungle.
Betancourt was captured by a guerrilla group from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia while campaigning in rebel-controlled territory as a Green Party candidate for the 2002 Colombian presidential race. She was rescued along with 14 other hostages by Colombian security forces in 2008.
The lecture will be held at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall.
Sociology professor John Foran, who specializes in Latin American and Iberian studies, said Betancourt’s lecture will provide a glimpse into applied international relations.
“Her story is really remarkable on many levels,” Foran said. “I think it’s going to be a great lecture for many reasons. Her experiences are incredible and I think it is great that she is able to not only write about it — such a trauma — but that she can come here to speak about it.”
Betancourt’s novel Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle details her struggle to remain hopeful during the disturbing experience.
While his interest in Green Party politics initially motivated him to research Betancourt’s story, Foran said the lecture will be inspirational to all students regardless of their area of study.
“It doesn’t matter if someone is interested in Latin America or not,” Foran said. “If someone has any interest in world affairs at all, they should come.”
Political science professor Corinna Reyes-McKoy said she thinks Betancourt’s lecture will be educational and inspirational.
“Attending the lecture would be beneficial to students because [Betancourt’s] experiences demonstrate how groups such as FARC treat their hostages,” McKoy said. “There is currently a debate over whether or not FARC is a terrorist or guerilla group, and attending the lecture would help students distinguish between the two groups and make distinctions.”
Additionally, Katie Perez, a second-year political science major, said she is excited to attend the lecture, which she thinks will be a motivational account of perseverance in the face of trauma.
“I personally find the politics behind Betancourt’s imprisonment and the dangers of terrorism in Latin America very interesting, but I don’t think that’s the only reason I want to hear her speak,” Perez said. “Her story is extremely motivational and I look forward to hearing how she stayed strong and kept faith for all those years.”