Former President of the Government of Spain
2015 Distinguished Leadership Award for Public Service in the Americas
Felipe González served as president of the government of Spain from 1982 to 1996. His government presided over an era of unprecedented growth; the modernization of the country’s education, healthcare, and social security systems; and its successful integration into the European Union. Since leaving office, González has been an active champion of democracy in the Americas and throughout the world.
González entered politics in 1962 as a member of the Socialist Youths of Seville and became a member of the Socialist Labor Party of Spain (PSOE) in 1964. Ten years later, he was appointed secretary general of the party at the Congreso de Suresnes in France. González was elected to the Spanish Parliament for Madrid in 1977 and became vice president of Socialist International the following year, a position he held until 1999. In 1982, the PSOE gained a majority in Parliament and González was elected president of the government, where served three consecutive terms.
Felipe González’s tireless, effective, and ongoing public service and commitment to democracy in Latin America has provided extraordinary leadership and an example for the region.
Former President of Mexico
Co-Chair, Inter-American Dialogue
González was special representative of the EU to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1998 and currently chairs the World Progressive Commission of the Socialist International. He is also a member of the Circle of Montevideo, Club of Madrid, InterAction Council, and Shimon Peres International Council for Peace.
For half a century, and to this day, Felipe González has been a defender of democratic principles – in his own country and beyond. In Chile, his intervention in 1977 helped pave the way back to democracy.
Ricardo Lagos Escobar
Former President of Chile
Chair Emeritus, Inter-American Dialogue
González has published several books analyzing trends in European development and the international political landscape. He has received many awards, among them the Charlemagne Prize for his distinguished service on behalf of European unification and the Great Golden Cross for Merit by the Republic of Austria.