Network of Men Leaders
Members of the Secretary-General’s Network of Men Leaders
Ricardo Lagos was the first socialist President of Chile since the 1973 coup d’état overthrew Salvador Allende. He became known for his public criticism of General Augusto Pinochet, denouncing him on television for his "years of torture, murder and human rights violations" – this at a time when the dictator was still in power. Many people were convinced that he would not be alive the next day.
He survived, and in 2000 he became President. His term in office was characterized by improvements in the country’s infrastructure and transport system, the creation of unemployment insurance, a health programme guaranteeing coverage for a number of medical conditions, extending compulsory schooling to 12 years, the signing of a revamped constitution, and the approval of Chile’s first divorce law.
After his presidency, Mr. Lagos established a foundation in Santiago called Democracy and Development. He assumed the co-chairmanship of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Board of Directors and began a two-year term as President of the Club of Madrid, an organization of 66 former heads of state created to strengthen democracy across the world. He currently teaches at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University in Rhode Island.
In May 2007 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Lagos one of his special envoys on climate change.