PORTLAND, OR (November 8, 2013) – The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is pleased to announce that Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, governor of Antioquia, Colombia, is our 2014 Leadership Medal of Merit recipient. CQI is recognizing Mr. Fajardo‘s leadership to improve the quality of Antioquia’s coffee sector and the livelihoods of its coffee families through targeted technical assistance, training in good agricultural practices, and the development of sensory analysis of coffee.
In 2003, Mr. Fajardo was elected mayor of Medellin, the capital of the Colombian department of Antioquia. As mayor, he inspired a transformation for Medellin, achieved by utilizing citizen participation in cohesion with the efficient administration of public resources. For these efforts, Mr. Fajardo was named best mayor in Colombia (2004-2007), and in 2007 was considered one of the most influential Latin America personalities by the Financial Times. Mr. Fajardo went on to become governor of Antioquia in 2012, a position he holds today.
Governor Fajardo believes that Antioquia´s true potential lies in the increased production of specialty coffee and international recognition as a known specialty coffee region. To this end, he launched a coffee project in his department, Antioquia: Origins of Specialty Coffee, with a total investment of approximately $15 million USD. This project includes the entire coffee territory in Antioquia and will promote direct relationships between producers and buyers. Additionally, comprehensive educational programs will be developed for Antioquia’s coffee sector including production and process technology, cupping, roasting and brewing, accompanied by applied research in the production processes with recognized regional universities.
CQI has been involved with the Colombian coffee sector for over a decade, working cooperatively with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) to leverage a network of alliances and address industry concerns. CQI’s Executive Director David Roche states, “CQI’s considerable work with the FNC connects us to Governor Fajardo’s ambition to develop Antioquia as a known origin of Colombian specialty coffee, and we will support his efforts any way we can.”
The Leadership Medal of Merit is CQI’s most prestigious honor and has been presented at SCAA’s annual exposition for nearly a decade. It is given to an extraordinary person who embodies CQI’s mission to improve coffee quality and the lives of people who produce it. Past recipients include Sunalini Menon (Coffee Board of India), Timothy Schilling (World Coffee Research), and Rick Peyser (GMCR). Governor Fajardo will be accepting the award at CQI’s 16th Annual Luncheon, held during SCAA’s exposition in Seattle, Washington, on April 26, 2014. Please visit us at www.coffeeinstitute.org to purchase tickets or become a sponsor.