José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of the American States (OAS), will present a public lecture titled, "Collective Challenges in the Americas,” at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2015, in Robertson Hall. The secretary general’s visit immediately precedes the annual Summits of the Americas, which will take place in Panama in April.
Insulza was elected OAS secretary general on May 2, 2005, and reelected March 24, 2010. The Chilean politician has an accomplished record of public service in his country.
A lawyer by profession, he holds a law degree from the University of Chile, completed postgraduate studies at the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty (FLACSO) and earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan. Until 1973, he was a professor of political theory at the University of Chile and of political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. He also served, until that year, as political advisor to the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and director of the Diplomatic Academy of Chile.
In the early 1970s, Insulza played an active role in Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. Following the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet into power, he went into exile for 15 years, first in Rome (1974-80) and then in Mexico (1981-88). He returned to Chile in early 1988 and joined the Coalition of Parties for Democracy, the coalition that won the plebiscite against the Pinochet regime in October of that year.
During the administration of President Patricio Aylwin, Insulza served as Chilean ambassador for international cooperation, director of multilateral economic affairs at the ministry of foreign affairs and vice president of the international cooperation agency.
In March 1994, under President Eduardo Frei, Insulza was named under-secretary of foreign affairs and was appointed minister of foreign affairs. In 1999-2000, he became minister secretary general of the presidency. In March 2000, under President Ricardo Lagos, he was designated minister of the interior and filled the office of vice president of the Republic. When he left that post in May 2005, he had served as a government minister for more than a decade, the longest continuous tenure for a minister in Chilean history.
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