June 16, 2008 14:51 ET

Dr. Ricardo Lagos to Receive Honorary Degree from BCIT

United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change and former President of Chile to address BCIT grads

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 16, 2008) - On June 18 at 1:30pm, Dr. Ricardo Lagos will be recognized with the degree of Honorary Doctor of Technology at the British Columbia Institute of Technology's (BCIT) convocation ceremonies. Such degrees are presented to individuals who are widely acknowledged for outstanding and sustained achievements in their area of expertise.

In March 2007, Dr. Lagos was appointed United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change, tasked with one of the most pressing global issues. In addition, he is the co-chair of the Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA), a task force of world leaders committed to addressing climate change through international negotiations. As well, Dr. Lagos is president of The Club of Madrid, an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its members.

Prior to his United Nations' appointment, Dr. Lagos was President of the Republic of Chile from 2000 to 2006. His presidency was characterized by such achievements as the signing of Free Trade Agreements with the European Community, the United States, South Korea, the People's Republic of China, New Zealand, Singapore, and Brunei; improvements in infrastructure and transport; the creation of an unemployment insurance program; the approval of the first divorce law in Chile; and the signing of a recast Chile Constitution. In 2004, as president of Chile, he hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Summit attended by former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Dr. Lagos' vision and leadership - both as cabinet minister and head of state - provided the continuing context with which Chile's political, social, cultural, and economic development flourished, setting the stage for increased Canadian trade and investment between the two countries. Throughout the 1990's, Canada became Chile's second largest national-investor, predominantly in mining and forestry resources. It is in this setting that BCIT initiated its long term technology transfer and knowledge exchange initiatives with Chilean industry and post-secondary institutions in 1996.

A lawyer and economist, Dr. Lagos is also professor at large with Brown University at its Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, a Downey fellow at Yale, and distinguished lecturer at Sorbonne and Harvard Universities. He has been bestowed with Honorary Doctorate degrees by renowned world universities, among them Duke and Berkeley, and European institutions such as Bilkent University of Turkey and Salamanca University of Spain.

BCIT's 2008 convocation ceremonies will take place June 18, 19, and 20 at the Willingdon Conference Centre, located at 4812 Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby. More than 1,750 students will graduate this year. For further information, visit http://www.bcit.ca/convocation/info.

Editorial note: Dr. Ricardo Lagos will address the BCIT community on 'Climate Change: The United Nations at Work' on June 18 from 9:00 to 10:45am in Town Square A/B of the Burnaby Campus. Media are invited to attend this presentation. Dr. Lagos is expected to speak at approximately 9:30am.

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