Laura Chinchilla

Costa Rica |  Co-Chair, Inter-American Dialogue

Former President of Costa Rica

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Laura Chinchilla Miranda was elected the first female president of the Republic of Costa Rica on February 7, 2010, for a constitutional term of four years.

Her election as president of the Republic of Costa Rica was preceded by a successful political career which began with her appointment as minister of public security between 1996 and 1998. She also served as president of the National Immigration Board and the National Drug Council. Between 2002 and 2006 she was elected member of the National Congress where she chaired the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Narcotics. In 2006 she was elected vice president of Costa Rica, assuming office as the minister of justice at the same time.

Her efforts to promote the rights of women, protect children and advance environmental sustainability, especially in the protection of the seas, earned her two important international awards: the “Excellence in National Management of the Ocean” Peter Benchley of 2011, and the “Award of the Shark Guardian of the Year” in 2013.

Along with her public career, Chinchilla dedicated part of her professional career to the international sector. She has worked as a consultant in Latin America and Africa with various international organizations in the area of institutional reform, with particular emphasis on judicial and public security reform. Relevant tasks performed include diagnostics on the justice sector for the Agency for International Development (USAID), coordination of studies and projects on judicial reform for the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), and assessments and advice on police reform to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She has been part of a number of initiatives to promote reforms in citizen security and human rights throughout Latin America.

She has lectured at various forums and has several publications in both Spanish and English on topics related to the administration of justice, public security, and police reform. She holds Honorary Doctorates from the University for Peace of the United Nations, Georgetown University, and Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.​ She also headed the Organization of American States’ Observation Electoral Mission during the 2015 electoral process in México. Chinchilla is a visiting professor at the Government School at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, were she is leading the Latin America Class on Democracy and Citizenship. With training as a political scientist, Chinchilla graduated from college at the Universidad de Costa Rica and holds a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown University. 

Chinchilla joined the Dialogue as a Member in 2014. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Dialogue’s Board of Directors.

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