The Retirees’ Association of the IDB Group congratulates the Bank on the occasion of its sixtieth anniversary.
It is a privilege to be a part of the Bank Group family, whose origins date back to the Pan American Conference of 1890, almost one hundred and thirty years ago. I believe I speak for all our members in saying that we all continue to share a commitment to the Bank’s mission, to strive for the equitable socio-economic development and environmental sustainability of the region.
The Bank was founded in 1959 as a revolutionary institution and remains so. It was revolutionary in that it was the first regional financial institution in the world the majority of whose shares were owned by its borrowing members, a difference from other international financial institutions that a former Executive Vice President called, with feeling, “huge.” And it was revolutionary in that its agenda marked a radical departure from similar such development efforts at the time, by broadening its reach beyond infrastructure to include the very foundations of our societies – education, health, housing and agriculture – and developing methodologies that clearly demonstrated the positive rates of return of such investments.
Among the members of our Association we have:
- Some of the very founders of the IDB in the early sixties, those pioneers who believed in the institution when very few had even heard of it;
- Those who, in the seventies, eighties and nineties, helped to grow the institution into the principal international force for development in the region, expanding its work to address the importance of regional integration, support the “micro” through such initiatives as the Multilateral Investment Fund and the “macro” through program loans designed to provide structural change, institutional reform and good governance, open its portfolio to operations with the private sector through the Inter-American Investment Corporation (subsequently IDB Invest) as an essential partner in the fulfillment of the Bank’s mission, and, in this entire process, assure the highest standards of administrative and financial integrity; and
- More recent retirees who have built on that heritage and made the Bank ever more relevant to the challenges of the twenty first century.
Our members have borne witness to the work of the Bank from the very foundation of the institution sixty years ago and carry its legacy with pride. I believe one of the most important guiding principles of the Bank, one which has defined its very identity and contributed to its success, has been the constructive discourse among diverse members of the staff from different nations, races, ethnicities, and cultures. For it is precisely those differences that, rather than dividing us, have enriched our search for solutions to the challenges of social and economic development, environmental sustainability, and institutional integrity, by bringing us all together with a common cause, balancing what might appear at times as opposing interests and resolving those interests in such a way that all win. We at the Association have strived to honor that legacy by working to fulfill our mission of keeping us united, engaged, and healthy, financially and physically, through a process of civil dialogue between all interested parties, from the members themselves to the Bank’s administration.
Let us not forget that the Retirees Association of the IDB is, by far, one of the most favored of such associations throughout the world. To our knowledge, no other retiree’s association of any international institution has the degree of support we receive from our mother institution, the close and confident relationship we have with its staff. Our mission is of course to monitor the practices and policies of the Bank to assure the fulfillment of all our benefits, and it behooves us to do so with the respect that all deserve in that process.
The Bank, by its very nature, is of course a creditor, though, in the words of Felipe Herrera, it is more than a bank. Meanwhile, I also trust that I speak for all our members when I say that I think we should consider ourselves debtors, to our families, to our friends, to our countries, to God, and to the very Bank itself.
President of the Retirees Association of the IDB Group