Sep 3, 2010

Tanai meets the Colombian ambassador in France

Last Wednesday I went to the house of the Colombian Ambassador in France. It was all part of a reunion of alumni from University of the Andes (Uniandes) in Bogotá where I studied Biology. The idea is to create and formalize a network of alumni, current students, and members of Uniandes. To my surprise it just happen to be that the Colombian Ambassador, Fernando Cepeda Ulloa, was the rector, vice-rector, and a professor of my university; so he was hosting the reunion of alumni at his place; which is the official ambassador’s house in France. The house it’s located at the Splanade de Invalides, right in front of a very beautiful park, and some historical buildings where you can find Napoleon’s tomb, and it’s very close to the Grand Palais; such a luxurious house boasting a collection of sculptures and paintings from Colombian most well known artists, like a Botero painting.

The reunion was quite a nice experience, the Ambassador received us, the man is really funny and friendly… with an extremely accentuated Bogotá accent, and despite his informality you could clearly feel that he’s a very wise man. We were about 20 persons, most of them were the typical Colombian upper class, with the exception of an architect whose bohemian life-style was evident, and a first year middle class PhD student engineer who was trying to look upper class… and I, the man who trascends class! All of them extremely successful and cool people, I was impressed in a very positive way. The majordomo gave us plenty of wine, and cooked for us a very tasty chicken rice, just as it’s traditional in Colombia.

Uniandes logo

The funny thing is that about two months ago I wrote to the ambassador asking for an economical support to buy my flight tickets to the Conference in China; and late in the afternoon when I was doing the groceries at Carrefour, he called me to tell me personally that they didn’t have money for those purposes and to give me contact information of someone from a science foundation in Colombia… who of course, didn’t have money for those purposes either. In any case, you can imagine my surprise when I realized it was the ambassador on the phone. Who knew I would get to meet him personally a couple of months later.

The paradox is that in Colombia it was OK to give more than 100 Euros to soldiers for killing guerrilla, but to give 100 Euros to a good man for representing the country at an international scientific conference is impossible.

In conclusion, the experience at the Ambassador’s house was pretty cool and enjoyable and I look forward for the next alumni meeting from Uniandes here in Paris. With so much potential and good people I think we could do great things!