07 Jun 2018
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Sowing the Seeds of Leadership


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As the second president of the Costa Rica–based EARTH University, Arturo Condo (DBA 2000) is following his passion for education that has a demonstrable impact on the world.

“EARTH’s students have the potential to lift people out of poverty in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world,” notes Condo, who led the renowned Latin American business school INCAE from 2007 to 2015. “That’s what got me completely hooked.”

EARTH University draws outstanding students from 48 countries across Latin America and Africa. Most are recommended by school or community leaders and all are recruited in person by university staff. “Many grew up in rural poverty and would never have a chance to take an SAT,” explains Condo. More than 80 percent receive scholarships, supported by donors and foundation grants.

Founded in 1989, the private, nonprofit university offers a four-year undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources management and a master’s in agribusiness innovation. Courses are taught by an international faculty and emphasize experiential education in sustainable agriculture and ethical entrepreneurship.

“Students learn the science of raising pigs and papayas,” Condo says, “but they also learn about business plans, seed money, and marketing.” All 100 students in each undergraduate class create and operate sustainable agribusiness ventures during their first three years of study.

Condo calls students and alumni “our best allies in expanding EARTH’s impact.” Key items on his agenda include leveraging interactive learning technology, establishing knowledge-sharing partnerships with other institutions, and networking with NGOs, foundations, and companies that can help alumni put their ideas into action.

(Published June 2018)

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