Ricardo Lagos

Ricardo Lagos was President of Chile from 2000 to 2006. He studied law at the Universidad de Chile from 1954 to 1960 and received his doctorate from Duke University. After working at the Faculty of Economics, he was appointed Secretary General of the Universidad de Chile in 1969. Augusto Pinochet's coup d'état forced him into exile in 1973. He then worked for the UN until 1978, when he returned to Chile on its behalf to work for the International Monetary Fund. In the same year, he also took on an economics professorship in Santiago and became director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences. In the 1980s, Lagos was among the leaders fighting for the reintroduction of democracy in Chile. He led the Socialist Party, increasingly became the undisputed leader of the opposition to the Pinochet government, and astounded contemporaries by calling out Pinochet on live TV in 1988, vehemently opposing the continuation of the military dictatorship with the “no” campaign. He was elected Chile's second socialist president after Allende in the December 2000 general election. In 2001, Lagos convened a government commission to investigate the situation of political prisoners under the Pinochet dictatorship and their torture. During his term as president from 2000 to 2006, he had a great reputation and popularity among the population. In 2007, the UN appointed him as special envoy for climate change.