Areas of Expertise
Juan Manuel Santos is president of Colombia. He has been a member of the Inter-American Dialogue since 1990 and served as co-chair of the Board of Directors.
Santos entered government upon his appointment as minister of foreign trade by President César Gaviria in 1991. From 2000 to 2002, Santos served a minister of finance and public credit under President Andrés Pastrana. In 2006, President Alvaro Uribe named him minister of defense.
Prior to entering politics, Santos served as deputy director of his family-owned newspaper El Tiempo. As a journalist, he was awarded the King of Spain Prize and named president of the Freedom of Expression Commission for the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).
Santos has published several books, among which the most significant are The Third Way, co-written with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Check on Terror (Jaque al Terror), where he describes the most important actions against the FARC terrorist group during his tenure as head of the Ministry of Defense.
Santos enlisted in the Colombian navy in 1967. He achieved the rank of naval cadet before deciding to enroll at the University of Kansas, from which he graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration. Santos also holds a master’s in economic development from the London School of Economics and a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has been a Fullbright fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Nieman visitng fellow at the Harvard Business School.
Santos is on leave from the Dialogue until the end of his term in office.