Alejandro Ángel Escobar y
María Restrepo de Ángel - 1950
Alejandro Angel Escobar was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1903, by a time when his father’s fortune was already consolidated. Mister Alejandro Ángel Londoño was a major exporter of coffee, manager of new industries and one of the richest men in the country
At the age of 3 his family moved to New York where his father, Alejandro Angel Londoño, had opened a business office to trade coffee. He received his basic education in New York, attended Georgetown Preparatory School for his secondary studies and studied Economics in Cambridge, England.
El Colombiano, c.a 1953
In 1927, at the age of 24, he returned to Medellin in order to adapt to his country, he worked in his father’s businesses and had all kinds of jobs from messenger to manager. Due to the complexity of his businesses he felt the need to study law so he enrolled in the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellin, and later finished his studies in Bogotá at the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
In the late forties Angel Escobar had already conceived the idea of creating a Foundation and "during a trip to Sweden, with great curiosity he was investigating the operation of the Nobel Foundation. At the same time was interested in the work of the Rockefeller Foundation in Latin America. In early 1949 the idea was already established: at his death he would leave a legacy to form a foundation to support-through awards-both authors of discoveries or scientific achievements, first, as to inspiring and executors of famous works of charity ".
During his short and active professional life he was a merchant, business administrator, industrialist, farmer and stockbreeder. He was also the Colombian Minister of Agriculture from 1950 to 1951 during the presidency of Laureano Gomez. In his time in office he modernized the Ministry, promoted scientific investigation, created the Colombian Agricultural Institute –ICA- and the National Federation of Stockbreeders. He died in Medellin on May 8th, 1953.
El Tiempo, 8 de mayo de 1955
The existence of the Alejandro Angel Escobar Foundation is inextricably linked to Mrs. María Restrepo de Ángel. She was born in November 1905 in Medellín, the 9th daughter of a wealthy family. Her father was Camilo Restrepo Callejas, engineer, prominent public figure, pioneer of the road development of Antioquia; her mother, Mrs. Ana Mejia Trujillo, is remembered for his altruism and for their family chronicles describing life in the early twentieth century.
She received the traditional education of a young lady from a distinguished family from the department of Antioquia; catholic school and trips to France to polish her education and languages. In 1930 she married Alejandro Ángel Escobar.
Mrs. María was the best performer of the deep sense of ethics and service that animated the life of Don Alejandro Ángel Escobar. She accompanied him in 1949 to visit the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, where the idea of creating a foundation to give back to society - in the best spirit of philanthropy - part of what they had received.
It was a right guess of Don Alejandro to put under her command the Foundation. In 1953, after his death, she did not hesitate to carry out his will.
She was surrounded by the best advisors: board members, financial advisors and jurors of the contests. By her intelligence, personal charm and distinction she always had access to the most outstanding areas of culture, academia and society. The Foundation members never hesitate to advise her when they were called to form the jury or to give her an advice.
La Repúbica, 5 de mayo de 1956
She had also enough personal determination to meet the challenges that the foundation required to adapt to the new times. Several amendments to the founding statutes were made, with the advice of counsel, whenever was necessary. Also she did not hesitate to give her own resources to the Foundation on numerous occasions.
Doña María died in November 1990; however her spirit, her teaching, her character remains in the fundamental guideline of the Foundation.
The legacy that Don Alejandro Angel left sixty years ago, could be able to become a reality thanks to the vigilance, intelligence, ability, generosity of Mrs. María Restrepo de Ángel. That’s why Alejandro Angel Escobar Foundation can proudly display a great, unselfish work, selfless like no other in Colombia. This is attested of those who have earned its awards for Science and Solidarity, which remains undoubtedly as the highest award for scientific research and the work for the benefit of the community in Colombia.