Ingrid Betancourt: Biography highlights

An unbreakable spirit and a foremost human rights activist, former hostage and politician Ingrid Betancourt is one of the world’s most sought after speakers.

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Nobel Prize Winners
TED Speakers

Full biography of Ingrid Betancourt

Ingrid Betancourt’s background

Having been the longest held female hostage and a fearless politician, Ingrid Betancourt now draws upon her experiences to motivate and assist others, campaigning for human rights and highlighting areas in which violations still occur globally. Internationally applauded for her commitment to the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy, Betancourt is uniquely placed to deliver life affirming and truly inspirational talks.

  • Columbian politician
  • Global human rights activist
  • Anti-corruption activist
  • Nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize

Speaking Style

  • Passionate, honest and determined, Betancourt recounts her experiences as a hostage, inspiring others to renew their faith in the human spirit and to think afresh about the importance of human rights, freedom and democracy.

On February 23, 2002, Ingrid Betancourt had been campaigning for the presidency of Colombia when was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Betancourts indomitable spirit kept her striving for freedom throughout the six years as a hostage which followed; deep in the Colombian rainforest, she was held prisoner by FARC. It was not until July 2, 2008 that she was rescued by the Colombian army along with 14 fellow hostages, so it is little wonder that her experiences have shaped her character and made her more determined than ever to strive for human rights the world over. Tellingly, Betancourt does not seek revenge against her captors instead she has sought to promote dialogue between FARC and the government, with the aim of reducing conflict and encouraging reconciliation. Since her release she has campaigned for the release of numerous other hostages by ensuring that the public are aware of their plight and has sought to encourage the use of non-violent conflict resolution the world over.

Now an international symbol of the human spirit, bravery and dignity, Betancourt is keen to inspire others to fight for democracy and peace and is an advocate of human rights. She has received numerous awards and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008. Her message to all people is clear dialogue and democracy are the way to make a stand and to preserve both relationships and lives during conflicts.

Positions and honours

  • Nominee – Nobel Peace Prize (2008)
  • Ordre national de la Lgion d’honneur (2008)
  • Prince of Asturias Award (Concord) (2008)
  • Woman of the Year Award – World Awards Association (2008)
  • Granted a brief audience with Pope Benedict XVI (2008)


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After Dinner Engagement

Watch Ingrid in action

1/3 videos
Frost over the World - Ingrid Betancourt
Frost over the World - Ingrid Betancourt
Ingrid Betancourt: What six years in captivity taught me about fear and faith (w/ subtitles) | TED
Ingrid Betancourt: What six years in captivity taught me about fear and faith (w/ subtitles) | TED
Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate-FreeIran2018
Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate-FreeIran2018

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