On 8 and 9 April 2012, the Conference "Science against Poverty" was held at the Palacio de La Granja in Segovia, as part of the events of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union.
The event brought together 200 international experts from different fields to discuss the role of scientific research and innovation in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The Deputy Director of the Rafael del Pino Foundation, Vicente José Montes Gan, chaired one of the working tables of this conference, which under the title "Bridging the knowledge gap" brought together the following experts:
-Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation
-Javier Simó, Representative of the EHAS Foundation (Spain).
-Juliana Rotich, Representative of the USHAHIDI platform (Kenya).
-Jan Wildeboer, Solutions Architect at Red Hat (Germany).
The position of the Rafael del Pino Foundation at the working table was as follows:
Access to education
The Rafael del Pino Foundation assumes as the main axis of its activities the conviction of its Founder that it is not only knowledge but the transmission of knowledge that has allowed us to survive and progress throughout the history of mankind. Undoubtedly, access to education is what really separates or differentiates some human beings from others. Knowledge serves to understand and project, but it is also a source of economic progress and well-being, as it allows us to influence our surroundings to improve our living conditions: "nothing contributes as much to the economic growth of countries and to the well-being and happiness of their citizens as education, knowledge and its dissemination and application". This idea prompted Rafael del Pino to create the Foundation that bears his name, with the aim of doing his bit in the noble task of passing on the knowledge inherited from others, together with our own particular added value, to the next generations in freedom.
Freedom to undertake
The Founder believed in freedom understood in its broadest sense. It is on the basis of freedom that men must make their decisions and assume their responsibilities: "But the freedom of man is one and encompasses all freedoms. Man cannot be free to vote but not to create or undertake. Democracy would be incomplete without a market economy system in which all citizens are free to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be...".
An optimal institutional framework
The exercise of freedom requires sound institutions: "we will not be able to act usefully and effectively if the environment around us does not allow us to do so freely". In recent decades, economic freedom and good governance were able to boost entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth. In a true revolution from below, i.e. from the market, based on the development of private initiative, the reduction of poverty and the growth of the middle classes in the world reached levels unparalleled in history. The current global recession should not make us forget this period of success, in which much of the potential that people with initiative, thanks to increasing access to education, in freedom, could be realised.