Speaker Laura Chinchilla

Laura Chinchilla

Political Speaker, Former President of Costa Rica

  • Speaker's U.S. Fee Range
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  • Languages Spoken
    English, Spanish
  • Travels From
    Costa Rica

About Speaker Laura Chinchilla Miranda…

At age fifty, Laura Chinchilla Miranda was elected President of the Republic of Costa Rica on February 7, 2010, and served for a constitutional term of four years. She is the first Costa Rican woman to lead her country.

Her election to the Presidency of the Republic was preceded by a successful political and public service career which she began as Minister of Public Security – the first woman to hold that position -serving  between 1996 and 1998. In that position, she also served as President of the National Migration Council and the National Council of Drugs. In 2002, she was elected deputy to the National Congress for a period of four years; as a congresswoman, she assumed the Presidency of the Commissions of Legal Affairs and Drug Trafficking. In 2006, she was elected Vice President of the Republic and assumed the Ministry of Justice as a surcharge. Finally, in 2010 she won the country’s first magistracy.

During her years of public service, she stood out for promoting various policies on citizen security, including the professionalization of the country’s police services, reforms to the criminal and criminal procedure codes, legislation against drug trafficking and organized crime and forms of citizen participation in the prevention of violence. One of her most outstanding achievements in the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic was the sustained reduction of the main crime rates in Costa Rica, including homicides and femicides.

She also promoted measures related to the institutional reforms of the Costa Rican State, open government or digital government, the promotion of women’s rights, the protection of children and environmental sustainability. Her efforts in this last area, especially in the protection of the seas, earned her two important international awards: the “Excellence in the National Oceanic Administration” Peter Benchley Award in 2011, and the “Shark Guardian of the Year award “in 2013.

In addition to her career in the Costa Rican public sector, Ms. Chinchilla Miranda dedicated part of her professional career to the international field,  which she has returned to after leaving the Presidency of her country. She has worked as a consultant in Latin America and Africa with various international organizations in the area of ​​institutional reform, with special emphasis on judicial reform and public security reform. Among the projects she has been involved in, it is worth highlighting the diagnosis of the justice sector for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the coordination of studies and projects on judicial reform for the United Nations Program United for Development (UNDP) and assessments and advice on police and judicial reform for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

She has also been part of various initiatives that promote reforms in the field of citizen security and human rights in Latin America. She has also been a lecturer in various forums on security and justice issues, institutional reform and governance, gender and equity. She has various publications to her credit, both in Spanish and English, on issues related to the administration of justice, citizen security and police reform.

More About Laura Chinchilla…

She holds honorary doctorates from the United Nations University for Peace, Georgetown University, and the University of Foreign Studies in Kyoto, and is a member of prestigious initiatives that promote dialogue and international cooperation such as the Club de Madrid, the Inter-American Dialogue and the Euroamerica Foundation.

In recent months she has chaired the Electoral Observation Commission of the Organization of American States for the elections in Mexico 2015, directs a diagnosis on the rule of law in Guatemala and collaborates as a guest professor at the Technological Institute of Monterrey and Georgetown University.

She lives with her husband, José María Rico, with whom she has one son.

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