19 de Octubre de 2021
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La Educación
Número: (117) I
Año: 1994


 Presentation Speech by Dr. Luis Garita B. Rector of the University of Costa Rica, IOHE Vicepresident for Central America
With deep emotion and great joy I have the honor of offering these words, on behalf of the Inter-American Organization For Higher Education, at this ceremony which justly recognizes Gilles Boulet, who will be awarded the honorable Interamerica Prize today.

It is a result of the essential contribution of Gilles Boulet that today we have the extraordinary experience which is the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education.

In 1979, I had the opportunity of visiting the University of Quebec while attending the World Congress on Public Administration; and already at that time, people were enthusiastically speaking about an idea that the president of the University, Dr. Boulet, had launched to the open forum: the idea of an inter-American organization which, in a shared effort, would facilitate communication among the universities of the entire continent.

Nothing is better than to cite Dr. Boulet himself:
The Inter-American Organization for Higher Education was at first an idea, just an idea, the idea of gathering from North to South, from the tierra de Baffin to the tierra del Fuego, all the universities in a single chain, in such a way that, supporting one another, they could improve little by little to better serve the peoples in whose hearts they are so deeply rooted.

Today, twelve years after its initiation, the shaping of this idea is a piece of history that has marked the destiny of those who have given it a meaning and, at last, it is a conviction that has taken root forever in the fertile soil of the universities of the three Americas.
These words were offered by Gilles Boulet when he received the Doctorat Honoris Causa of the University of Quebec. These words present the IOHE as one of the most credible organizations in interamerican cooperation, so that, as members of universities from the whole continent, we contribute to provide a solution to the many and diverse problems that we must face.

In the words of Gilles Boulet: “The social problems, the economic problems, the health problems, the technological problems that oppress our societies, from South to North, can only be solved if we multiply the number of university graduates that will know how to face them. And they will be more able to face them when they graduate from universities which are in a constant search for excellence.”

Gilles Boulet is a teacher dedicated to teaching, a teacher who since his graduation, in Canada and later in France, dedicated years to the teaching of literature and history, and then for many years of his prolific life, dedicated the best of his intellect and efforts to the development of the University of Quebec. After being Rector in Trois-Rivieres, he became the President of the University of Quebec for a period of 10 years. It was during this exceptionally productive time for the life of Quebec and Canada that Boulet forged the idea of the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education.

After his period as president, he immediately concentrated all his efforts in achieving the opening of the Museum of Popular Traditions and Art of Quebec and to the strengthening of IOHE. And once more, as has been usual in his life, success crowned his vision and effort.

But today, in awarding this Interamerica Prize, I want not only to highlight his academic career and his management ability but also his characteristics as a human being: intelligent, sensitive, skilled in communication, with a great capacity to listen and, through dialogue, to bring forth new ideas that have so much enriched the IOHE, the University of Quebec, and let’s be honest, the academic life in the American Continent.

The Interamerica Prize, an award reserved to great men, is presented today by the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education as a tribute to a great man: Gilles Boulet. But this award is also a tribute to the Organization and the academicians of the continent. This is an award that must be an inspiration to continue supporting the IOHE and forging the highest values of Interamerican cooperation.