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Former captive, global human rights activist Ingrid Betancourt speaks at Vanderbilt University Nov. 16

by Nov. 5, 2010, 10:07 AM

Former Colombia presidential candidate and FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt

Guerillas belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, kidnapped Ingrid Betancourt as she campaigned for the Colombian presidency in 2002. She was held captive six years in Colombia’s rain forest until she was liberated in 2008 with 14 other hostages in a daring rescue staged by the Colombian army.

She brings her story to Vanderbilt University, Tuesday, Nov. 16, where she will give a public lecture at 7 p.m. in the Student Life Center ballroom located at 310 25th Ave. S. on Vanderbilt’s campus. Tickets for the lecture are on sale now. The university’s Speakers Committee, a student-run organization, is sponsoring the event.

Betancourt will also sign copies of her newly released memoir, Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle, at the Vanderbilt Bookstore from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

General public tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. General admission tickets are $10. Tickets are free to Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff and must be picked up in advance at the Sarratt Student Center box office. Only one free ticket may be picked up per person with Vanderbilt ID. Tickets are $5 for non-Vanderbilt students with valid school or university identification – these tickets are available at the Sarratt Student Center box office and Ticketmaster outlets. For more information, call 615-343-3361 or 615-322-2471 or visit www.vanderbilt.edu/studentcampusevents.

Betancourt, the longest female hostage held in captivity, has become a global human rights activist meeting with world leaders and campaigning for the release of more than 700 hostages still being held captive by FARC.

“I will not feel totally free, not happy, as long as one of my companions remains jailed in the jungle,” she has said.

During her presidential campaign, she had been a critic of FARC and her platform was built on her promise to curb drug trafficking, corruption and the FARC’s methods of kidnapping innocent people. She had met with FARC leaders to encourage them to end these practices before becoming a victim of their rebel tactics.

Betancourt has received numerous international awards, including the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, The Prince of Asturias Prize of Concord, The Prize Grinzane Cavour and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She also received the first Woman of the Year Award 2008 from the World Awards Association for her commitment to democratic values, freedom and tolerance.

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