An innovative new leadership program promoting sustainable development in Costa Rica recently captured the attention of that nation’s president, Luis Guillermo Solís.

Caminos de Liderazgo, or Pathways to Leadership, is a new collaboration between the Stanford Woods Institute’s Osa and Golfito Initiative (INOGO), the CRUSA Foundation, SINAC (Costa Rica’s National Parks Service) and three tour operators in that country.

Caminos de Osa - Gobierno from Canal RBA on Vimeo.

The leadership program hosted several of Costa Rica’s top officials when President Solis met with program participants during his first official visit to the southern region of Costas Rica. Among those in the president’s entourage were the country’s minister of the environment and energy, the minister of tourism and the minister of public security.

The Pathways to Leadership program provides the opportunity for a select group of entrepreneurs and community leaders to develop their businesses in Costa Rica’s Osa and Golfito region, where Stanford Professors and Senior Fellows Rodolfo Dirzo (Biology) and William Durham (Anthropology) are leading efforts to harmonize ecological and economic interests in partnership with the local community.

Solís listened to a brief overview of the Caminos de Liderazgo program, which is aimed at developing leadership skills and creating sustainable tourism offerings in the area (read more).  Next he met with entrepreneurs participating in the program and discussed how their businesses would operate within the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, and how their lives and their communities would be changed by the development.

“The only way of solving the structural problems that have affected the peninsula for over 40 years is through alliances with social organizations, entrepreneurs and the government,” Solís said. “This is achieved precisely through projects that allow for the development of these public-private partnerships.”'

Stanford Woods Institute researchers are looking at how to sustain growing populations and a healthy environment while ensuring education, health and social equity. Learn more about Woods-sponsored sustainable development research.