The directors profile
Alan Edmundo Jara Urzola is a Colombian engineer, Master in Engineering Sciences of the Kiev Institute of Building and Engineering. PHD in Education Sciences, he was born the 17th July 1957 in Bogota, but moved very young to the Meta department (center of Colombia), where he established a long and active political career that took him three times to the Meta government.
He started his working career as professor at the Universidad de Los Llanos and public employee from the Villavicencio Mayor’s Office (Urban Control Chief, Planning Director, Valorization Director and Public Works Secretary). After that, he was appointed Mayor of the city in 1987. In 1990, he served as governor of the Meta department for the first time.
Then, between 1995 and 1997 he was part of the Meta Assembly. For the period 1998-2000 he was elected governor.
At the end of his second period within the Meta department, he was kidnapped by the FARC guerilla, when he was inside a UN vehicle in the Lejanias municipality (15th July 2001). After almost 8 years of being a hostage, he was released on February the 3rd 2009.
Based on this experience, Mr. Jara wrote “El Mundo al Revés” (“The world turned upside down”), published in 2010, which pays tribute to his former fellow captives. “This book rescues the values and dignity of those people and tells what we lived each day in the jungle”, he said.
After launching the book, he dedicated his energies to achieve a Humanitarian Agreement (to exchange hostages in the jungle for guerilla members in prison). Together with these activities, he went back to the political arena, invited by a group of citizens who recognized his leadership.
Through the gathering of signatures, he received the support of social sectors, which allowed him to return to the Meta government (2012 – 2015).
Furthermore, he exercised as president of the Federación Colombiana de Departamentos (Colombian Federation of Departments), and obtained different prizes, such as the Liderazgo por la Paz (Leadership for Peace), given by the Foundation Premio Nacional de Paz in 2014. He also received the Premio a Mejores Líderes de Colombia (Prize for the Best Leaders in Colombia), given by the Semana magazine, in the same year.
In 2015, we was chosen as Best Governor for Reconciliation, by the organization Colombia Líder. As director of the Victims Unit, Jara sustains that one of his priorities is reconciliation.
“The brave attitude of the victims has always tended to reconciliation, even more than those people who haven’t suffered the conflict directly. This can be very useful in moments of extreme polarization. We make a call for unity around peace”.
Besides that, he acknowledges that the sight on the regions is essential, because it is there where peace must be built. “Coming from a department as Meta, that has lived the rigor of armed conflict, is what allows us to have this territorial vision”, he added.