Osvaldo Hurtado served as president of Ecuador from 1981 to 1984.

Hurtado was educated at the Catholic University of Ecuador, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in political and social sciences and a doctorate in law. Instead of exercising his profession as a lawyer, he chose to work at the Ecuadorian Institute for Social Development (INEDES), where he directed the research that led to his first book, Dos Mundos Superpuestos, published when he was 29 years old.

In 1977, Hurtado presided over the Commission in charge of drafting the Laws on Referendums, Elections, and Parties, which made up the legal framework that guided the democratic transition in 1979. He subsequently served as vice-president of Ecuador (1979-1981), president of the republic (1981-1984), and president of the National Constituent Assembly (1997-1998).

Hurtado’s books include El Poder Político en el Ecuador (1977) and Las Costumbres de los Ecuatorianos (2007). His papers on Latin America have been included in books, magazines, and journals published in Ecuador, the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In 1999, Hurtado received the Pío Jaramillo Alvarado National Award from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso), in recognition of his “significant contribution to the development of social science throughout his professional life.” He also holds an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University, among others from various universities, and has received official medals from several European and Latin American countries.

Hurtado has been a member of numerous international organizations, including the Institute for European-Latin American Relations (IRELA), where he served as vice-chair; the Prebisch Foundation (Buenos Aires); the Council of Former Presidents of the Americas chaired by Jimmy Carter (Atlanta); the Club of Madrid; the Biarritz Forum; the Emerging Markets Forum (Washington); the South American Peace Commission (Santiago); the Pacific Council on International Policy (Los Angeles); the Andean Commission of Jurists (Lima); the Due Process of Law Foundation (Washington); the advisory council for Latino Barómetro (Santiago, Chile); and the group of judges that bestows the Inter-American Development Bank’s Juscelino Kubitschek Award to Latin American private-sector institutions for outstanding work in the fields of social and economic development.

Hurtado was also a member of the commission that prepared several reports on environmental issues under a mandate from the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program: Nuestra propia agenda (1990), Amazonía sin mitos (1992), and Amanecer en los Andes (1997). In 1984, he founded the Corporation for Development Studies (Cordes), a Quito-based not-for-profit institution that studies political, economic, and social issues in Ecuador. Hurtado gives lectures, does consulting, attends international forums, and occasionally takes part in the national political debate.

Hurtado is an emeritus member of the Dialogue.