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Felipe Herrera's enduring vision

When Chilean economist Felipe Herrera proposed 36 years ago that the fledgling Inter-American Development Bank finance social development projects, many regarded such a notion as questionable, or even ill advised.

But the first president of the IDB was determined to prove that programs to improve education, health and sanitation were indeed "bankable." He succeeded, and today, advances in improving the lives of millions of ordinary people are among the proudest accomplishments not only of the IDB, but of international financial institutions around the world.

For this vision and resolve, as well as for his leadership skills and his remarkable human qualities, Herrera was honored in a ceremony at the IDB's Washington, d.c., headquarters in September, a year after his death. Among the principal speakers was Sixto Durán Ballén, ex president of Ecuador and former IDB staff member.

The ceremony, attended by an overflow crowd of Bank staff and former friends and colleagues, featured addresses on education and economic integration in Latin America, major themes in Herrera's life work.

Also included was the unveiling of a bust of the former IDB president, the presentation of a book, Felipe Herrera, A Biographical Essay, and the signing of an IDB grant for the Felipe Herrera Lane Foundation to help finance cultural and development projects in the region.

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