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Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the forty-eighth President of the Republic of Costa Rica, completed his constitutionally limited term in May 2022. As of July 1, 2022, he joined the faculty of The Fletcher School at Tufts University as Professor of Practice in Diplomacy, Executive Education Keynote, and Senior Fellow in the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World.
Widely praised for his innovative approach to sustainable energy, his ambitious climate policies, and a highly successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Alvarado joins Fletcher’s world-renowned multi-disciplinary faculty with a focus on small states diplomacy and preparing tomorrow’s leaders to address the most pressing global issues.
In June 2022, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, President Alvarado was awarded the 2022 Planetary Leadership Award by the National Geographic Society for his outstanding commitment and action toward protecting the ocean. The Planetary Leadership Award honors world leaders who have successfully established globally significant protected areas, such as national parks, wilderness areas, or marine reserves, that are shielded from exploitation. In November 2019, President Alvarado was named as one of TIME’s 100 Next emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership. In September 2019, he received on behalf of his country the Champion of the Earth Award for policy leadership, presented by the United Nations Environment Program.
Under President Alvarado’s leadership, Costa Rica has contributed to global efforts to combat climate change, and defended human rights, democracy, and multilateralism, including the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) initiative with the World Health Organization to facilitate faster, equitable, and affordable access to COVID-19 health products for people in all countries. Furthermore, his administration has overseen historic fiscal reforms to strengthen the country’s economy.
In February 2019, President Alvarado launched Costa Rica’s National Decarbonization Plan, the first of its kind since the Paris Agreement of 2015 which established the road map to decarbonize the country’s economy by 2050, organized the run-up to U.N. Climate Change Conference – COP25 in Madrid, and created with France and the United Kingdom the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People that now includes more than one hundred member states. He was responsible for Costa Rica’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), marking the fourth Latin American country and the first in Central America to do so.
Before inauguration as his nation’s president in May 2018, President Alvarado served as Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion (2014 – 2016) and as Executive President of the Joint Social Welfare Institute, responsible for implementing social protection and promoting poverty alleviation programs. He then served as Minister of Labor and Social Security (2016 – 2018) in the presidency of Luis Guillermo Solís for whom he served as the presidential campaign’s communications director (2013 – 2014). Before entering politics, President Alvarado worked for Procter and Gamble, Latin America.
Born in San José, President Alvarado received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Costa Rica in 2001 from which he also received a master’s degree in political science in 2006. He went on in 2009 to receive a master’s degree in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University, United Kingdom. Between 2006 and 2010, he served as an advisor to the Citizen Action Party’s group in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica.
President Alvarado is joined at Fletcher by former First Lady Claudia Dobles Camargo, an architect and urban planner, and their young son.
Sustainability - How smaller nation-states and organizations can punch above their weight to meet our environmental challenges
How can global sustainability become important among the population? How to turn a dream into a country goal that got the whole world talking about? How to convey hope in the most difficult hours of a pandemic, thinking long-term and based on the necessary evolution of how the planet is viewed and treated? Carlos Alvarado, President of Costa Rica (2018-2022) proposed a challenge for a small country and for the world: Make Costa Rica a decarbonized nation in the year 2050. A speech that leads to introspection, and to the own analysis of what and how it is contributing to the planet, to take action: What to do, How to do it, and When.
Global Challenges for Today’s Youth
At the age of 38, took on the most complex task in the recent history of Costa Rica: Getting the country out of the fiscal, social and health crisis. How to confront it? What tools to use to lead the country into an unprecedented transformation process? The lessons for the young leaders of the world, from the voice of the youngest President Costa Rica has had in 100 years: Carlos Alvarado Quesada.
Ecotourism - The Costa Rican model
Costa Rica leads the world in ecotourism with its vast natural beauty.
Economic Leadership in a time of crisis
In 2018 Carlos Alvarado assumed the Presidency of Costa Rica with one of the largest fiscal deficits of all time: 7% and rising; two years later it faced the worst health crisis for humanity in a century. From his position, making unpopular decisions and measures, he managed to put Costa Rica on the path to having a primary surplus, at the end of his administration, and reduce the fiscal deficit to a decreasing 5.83%. Likewise, it achieved that at least 85% of the country's population had some type of vaccine and left the country with a growth of its economy of 7.6%. How did Alvarado manage to move from the financial and health abyss to financial stability and confidence in overcoming the pandemic among the population? A speech to redefine the purpose of life, make the difficult decisions, and be true to personal principles.
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