Jaime Eduardo Jaramillo E. is being awarded Special Commendation for his tireless efforts in creating a social conscience regarding abandoned and discarded children who live in the streets and sewers of cities. He has received many honors around the world, including the Peace and Justice Award one year after Mother Teresa, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Biography Citation for SEG Special Commendation
Contributed by Cielo Andrea Porras Gil
Jaime Jaramillo’s resume, not unlike many in the oil industry, has led to challenging, uneasy paths more often than not. As a student, he arose to the challenges of the German language to pursue a master’s in geology and geophysics at Montanuniversität-Leoben, Austria, and postgraduate courses at Johannes Gutenberg Universität at Mainz, Germany. Jaime supplemented his scholarship with numerous jobs and also attended courses on first aid, preventive medicine, and acupuncture.
Jaime consulted for international firms with interests in South America, founded Andes Oil Service in 1984, and is currently CEO of ECOPET, an Ecuadorian company with a full range of oil field services and equipment. His work may take him to a boardroom in London today and to a seismic crew in a three-canopy jungle next week. What sets Jaime apart is this: in London, Dallas, or wherever, local media will seek to interview him. In the jungle, too, there has been occasional interest on the part of one guerrilla group or another. Back home in Colombia, scores of people want his attention all at once. And wherever he may go or be forcibly taken, if a person, especially a child, is in need, he or she will get Jaime’s attention before anyone else. He’s in demand. Why? Because Jaime Eduardo Jaramillo Echeverry, geophysicist and businessman, is “Papa Jaime” to thousands of gamines—discarded children who live in the streets and sewers of Bogota.
Jaime has personally rescued babies, physically and mentally handicapped and injured children, and pregnant girls from unimaginable conditions. For the first 14 years of his crusade, expenses (including several major surgeries) came out of Jaime’s pocket since, without legal standing as a charitable organization, he couldn’t receive donations. In 1988 Jaime created Fundación Niños de los Andes, with the guiding principle: Don’t give them the fish, teach them how to fish. True to this dictum, after nursing the homeless children back to health, he sees to their education. Many obtain on-the-job-training with contractors operating in Latin America; they, for 25 years, have employed hundreds of former gamines in drilling, seismic acquisition, well logging, and other facets of the industry. “We don’t ask for money from industry,” says Jaime. “We’d rather they give training and employment opportunities. It doesn’t matter where. An opening abroad means technical education and the chance to learn another language and another culture. When they return to Colombia, there are a number of jobs in and out of the oil industry. We’ve had great response from companies in Europe, United Kingdom in particular, and the United States.”
For all of the above, Jaime, at 47, has received many international honors: the Peace and Justice Award (Christian Brothers University), together with Mother Teresa; World Award for Service to Humanity (United Kingdom); the Kiwanis World Service Medal; World Award for Contribution to Children (United States); World Award for Human Rights; World Award for Peace; the Rosa de Oro (Spain); and, in 1989 a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Recently he was listed as one of 50 Century World Leaders, named Ambassador of World Peace (South Korea), and invested as a Knight of Merit in the ancient Byzantine Order of St. George—Knights of Malta.
His latest contribution is an attempt to develop a greater sense of social justice among business, academic, and political leaders—the Leadership Institute, which through seminars, conferences, and workshops, in and out of Colombia, offers guidance on how to achieve professional and altruistic goals and personal growth.
Jaime Jaramillo: geoscientist, businessman, author of several books, international speaker and lecturer, and above all, humanitarian, richly deserves Special Commendation from all SEG members.