THE PRESIDENT of Costa Rica has returned to his old university to discuss climate change with local students.

Carlos Alvarado Quesada studied at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in 2009.

The 41-year-old completed his MA in development studies before returning to Costa Rica where he became a government minister and was subsequently elected as president in 2018.

He returned to Brighton on Thursday to meet with students and researchers while on a visit to the UK for the Cop26 climate change summit.

During his visit, the president met with the Institute of Development Studies director professor Melissa Leach and interim vice chancellor of the University of Sussex professor David Maguire.

Prof Leach said it was an “enormous honour” to welcome back the former student.

“He is a real source of inspiration for our current students and international network of alumni,” she said.

“It was a privilege for us to discuss with him what needs to be done to respond to climate change, to share with him the latest IDS research on inclusive approaches to conservation, and to hear his openness to bringing justice and local perspectives to the heart of global debates.”

The Argus: President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada

Since he became president of Costa Rica, Mr Quesada has gained a reputation as a leader for environmental conversation and action against climate change.

Last month, Costa Rica received the Earthshot prize for Protect and Restore Nature, which was awarded by the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William.

Speaking at the event in Sussex on Thursday, days after addressing fellow world leaders at the CoP26 summit, Mr Quesada shared his aspirations for the crucial climate change negotiations.

After the event, Prof Maguire said the university was grateful Mr Quesada was able to learn more about the institutions recent research and scholarships.

“Our university has always prided itself on our international reach and our commitment to sustainability,” he said.

“The president’s visit perfectly encapsulates both these values, and it is even more fitting that he should return to Sussex in the same week that he addressed the CoP26 conference in Glasgow.

“I’m sure everyone who had the privilege to hear the President speak, either in person, live online or on YouTube after the event, cannot help but be inspired by the positive impact in the world he has made since graduating from the world-leading Institute of Development Studies here in Sussex.”