The military dictatorship that occurred in Chile in 1973 was a very painful moment for Carlos Jara, because he had to abandon his country, his surroundings, and all that he was fond of, against his will, when he was very young.
From the age of 21, Jara resided in Colombia in order to complete his undergraduate studies in agronomy at the University of Nariño and, later, his Master’s degree at the National University – at its Palmira site – in agrarian science and in crop breeding with emphasis on the development of disease-resistant plant lines. At the age of 26, he joined CIAT, which has been his home for 34 years.
I practically lived at CIAT, which was my family, my home, and my country; and that is why I have a CIAT nationality and a CIAT passport, because I worked 24/7. I built my networks of affection here and I love Cali for its magic, its breeze, and the river that runs through it.Carlos Jara
Now, Jarita, as he is known by his friends and colleagues, is retiring from the Center after working in the Bean Program and specifically in the Pathology Laboratory, where one of his greatest achievements was defining the differential kinds of angular leaf spot disease, which served to identify resistance genes for the creation of improved bean varieties.
In the same way, the team he worked with in the laboratory compiled the experiences of many years to write detailed guides for the management of bean pathogens, which are published in English and Spanish today, and used by hundreds of scientists, technicians, and students the world over.
Carlos recognizes that the achievements attained in his career are due to the contributions and teachings of his mentors. Among them he recognizes three in particular: Dr. Marcial Pastor Corrales, with whom he worked for 14 years, and who founded the line of research for bean diseases that is studied to this day; Dr. Shree Singh, who taught him the basics of crop? improvement; and Dr. Steve Beebe, current leader of bean research at CIAT, from whom he learned his immense work in obtaining new, interspecific lines to help mitigate problems caused by climate change and also the development? of biofortified lines.
Thanks to all the knowledge that Carlos Jara has, we have carried out excellent work as a team in the pathology laboratory because each idea and story that he tells us is important for the work that we are developing. It is very difficult to think about him leaving because he is taking many years of experience in the bean program with him. Carlos has a quantity of information that not even he is aware of. I became aware of this from the stories he told me over the years of traveling together.Gloria Mosquera
In addition to having a great deal of knowledge about beans, Jarita belongs to the Masonic Lodge, a group of free-thinking men who carry out activities that contribute to society and who have service as their doctrine, in order to always give the best that each one has to give.
“Although I do not always attain it, as the imperfect creatures that we are, in masonry they teach you that you are not the owner of your knowledge, that it is your obligation to share it, and this is what I have applied at CIAT all the time with the teachings that I convey to them and that I conveyed to three of my pupils: Victoria Eugenia Arredondo, chemist in charge of the pathogen collection; Carlos Cotes, biologist in charge of the laboratory, and Ernesto Espitia, engineer-agronomist in charge of the greenhouse.”
Jara is more than a friend. He is a mentor and a great team leader. I must say that I cannot think of Carlos Jara without smiling. The Chilean’s constant jokes and funny stories in our arduous days of pathogenic evaluation in the field, made even the harsh sun seemed kinder.Carlos Cotes
Jara is a person who is not seen as a boss but as a friend, because if you make a mistake he tells you things openly and is always ready to listen. He teaches you things empirically, which facilitates the work, and he inculcates in you a passion for science and for plant pathology.Ernesto Espitia
A chef and film lover, he is writing the novel of his life, in which he narrates each one of the key? moments that he has lived through since the day he decided to leave his country and fight for his ideals. Today, he says goodbye to CIAT and a Center that will have a leading role in his novel.
Carlos Jara will continue his work of collaboration with CCAFS (the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security), teaching vulnerable communities to grow and consume this crop; and he will hold coachings on themes of agronomy and management of infestations and diseases, awakening joy in the people who need it and to whom he can provide knowledge. Knowledge that, as he has demonstrated, he is always willing to share.
So long, friend and sage…
He is a very special man. Carlitos Jara is a man who combines in a singular way his spirit of eternal adolescence with the wisdom of an old sage.Alba Lucía Chávez
A man with a spirit full of abundant joy, enthusiasm, love, and passion, and for that reason I can only wish him much success, abiding peace, and much happiness. Carlos, may God always bless your road.Elizabeth Portilla
Jarita, as we affectionately call him, is quite a personality. During these three years that I have had the good fortune of having him as a friend and colleague, I have learned everything he knows about bean pathology.Norma Barbosa
My uncle, my friend, my companion, my confidant, my mentor, my homie, my buddy, my colleague, my wise country cousin. There’s no-one like him; what a great professional. I must say that few people know beans and pathogens like he does.Juan David Lobatón