Widely regarded as one of Latin America's most important political leaders, Ricardo Lagos served as president of Chile from 2000 to 2006. During his presidential term he prioritised the pursuit of free-trade agreements, improvements in health care and education legislation, and addressing the crimes of Augusto Pinochet's military regime.
After leaving office, Ricardo Lagos founded the Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo (Foundation for Democracy and Development) in 2006 and currently serves as its President. He is also vice-chair of the Inter-American Dialogue and was UN special envoy for climate change from 2007 to 2010. Since 2007 he has taught at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, where he is now Professor at Large.
Ricardo Lagos earned a law degree from the University of Chile in 1960 and then attended Duke University, where he received a PhD in economics in 1966. He returned to Chile and served as Director of the University of Chile's School of Political and Administrative Sciences and as Secretary General of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences.
Following the military coup against President Salvador Allende, Ricardo Lagos lived in the United States and Argentina. He served as consultant and economist in UNESCO and the International Labor Organization. In 1978, he returned to Chile, where he became president of the Democratic Alliance, a coalition of parties opposed to Pinochet. In 1987, he founded the Party for Democracy (Partido por la Democracia). He served as a Minister in the governments of both President Patricio Aylwin (1990-1994) and President Eduardo Frei (1994-2000). Elected President in Jan