Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has presented Dr. Cristián Samper, president and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, with the prestigious Order of San Carlos.
The Order of San Carlos honors Colombian citizens, foreign civilians and military officers who have made outstanding contributions to the country, particularly in the field of international relations.
An international authority on conservation biology and environmental policy, Dr. Samper was invited to the Colombian Residence in New York to receive the honor on September 24 for his outstanding contributions to the field.
"I'm humbled and filled with gratitude to President Santos for bestowing the Order of San Carlos on me. We will work for a country at peace with nature," Dr. Samper said.
Born in San José, Costa Rica and raised in Colombia, Dr. Samper studied biology at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá and earned his master's and doctorate degrees in biology from Harvard University, where he was awarded the Derek Bok prize for excellence in teaching.
Before joining WCS in August 2012, Dr. Samper served as Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and he was the founding director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, dedicated to research on the knowledge, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
WCS runs conservation programs in all the world's oceans and in 65 nations, including in Colombia.