Informal Thematic Debate
Climate Change as a Global Challenge

Dr. Ricardo Lagos

Ricardo Lagos Escobar served as President of Chile from January 2000 until March 2006.

After stepping down from the presidency, Dr. Lagos established the Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo (Foundation for Democracy and Development), which he presides. The organization promotes responsible sustainable economic growth and development.

On May 1st, Lagos was designated by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a Special Envoy on Climate Change due to his vast experience in international politics and his long dated work with United Nations.

On April 2006, he formally took up his post as President of the Club de Madrid, which he has led to increase its involvement in environmental issues.

Dr. Lagos studied law at the Universidad de Chile and obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy in Economics from Duke University, United States. During his academic career, he was Secretary General of the Universidad de Chile (1969–1971) and Secretary General of the Latin-American Faculty of Social Sciences, (FLACSO) based in Buenos Aires (1973-1974). In 1974, he moved to the United States to work as visiting professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He also served as the Director of the Institute of Economics, Universidad de Chile.

Having shown expertise in development issues, Dr. Lagos served as a UNDP consultant and with the United Nations University. He also served as Ambassador to the Third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

He also became the Regional Director of the Post-Graduate Programme in Social Sciences of the CLACSO, a UNESCO-UNDP project in Buenos Aires, Argentina and later on worked as an Economist in the Regional Employment Program for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations.

During the 1980s, Dr. Lagos played a leading role in the recovery of democracy process in Chile, leading the opposition coalition “Democratic Alliance” and the Independent Committee for Free Elections. He became the founder and first President of the Party for Democracy and served as Minister for Education (1990-1993) and Minister for Civil Works (1994-1998).

Dr. Lagos was a Director of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences and later on, the Secretary-General of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences.

On July 1st 2007 Dr. Lagos began serving as a Professor in the Watson Institute for International Studies in Brown University, for a five year term.