Belgium, Brussels and Wallonia have welcomed many foreign students and several hundred Peruvians, some of whom enjoy brilliant careers on returning to Peru. Almost every time, the stay related to their studies has generated special links between our country and the region where they study.
An association of these Peruvian scholarship alumni in Belgium was in fact created in 1973. However, it spent a long time dormant due to the political and economic instability in the 1980s and early 1990s and the period with recovery efforts that took place all over the country. Since these objectives have mostly been achieved with annual growth rates of 5 to 6% for more than a decade, notwithstanding a recent slowdown, inhabitants can once again focus on what to do with their newfound wealth and/or development.
This is why ApeBelga, the association of Peruvian scholarship alumni in Belgium has been revived this year, with prestigious directors such as Augusto Bedoya and Salomon Lerner. These directors organised a first meeting and round of conferences attended by former scholarship recipients, but also the Belgian Ambassador to Peru, the Belgian Development Agency and the BTC, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Culture of Belgium and Luxembourg in Peru (also ambassador of the brand Wallonia.be). In their speeches, these distinguished guests reflected on the links between Belgium and Wallonia, their contributions to the country and their strategic position in Europe and the world.
Wallonia has played an important role in Peru, particularly in the creation of the National Agrarian University in Lima, which was visited by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid during the last multi-sectoral mission and other Walloon actions such as those by François Watteau, a Walloon who established the first private bank in Peru. The work of the Loret brothers was also mentioned, organ builders who created the instruments in the Peruvian cathedrals in the cities of Lima and Arequipa, as well as the presence of the representation of Saint Rose of Lima, patron saint of the Peruvian capital, in one of the stained glass windows at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels, etc.