A conversation with: Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzón.
Throughout his career, Pinzón has been a leader in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, Pinzón served as Minister of Defense of Colombia for nearly four years. Under his leadership, the Armed Forces dealt the most severe blows to terrorist organizations – FARC and ELN – and Criminal Bands, highly degrading their capabilities, structure and leadership, which was critical to President Santos’ Peace Strategy. This resulted in improved security conditions throughout the country and the lowest homicide rate in 35 years. During his tenure, the Armed Forces’ equipment and training was modernized, the welfare of the men and women in uniform and their families was improved, and a transformation plan for the next 20 years was designed. Colombia also became an exporter of security expertise, aiding over 60 nations.
Prior to serving as Defense Minister, Pinzón was Chief of Staff to President Juan Manuel Santos (2010–2011) and Vice Minister of Defense (2006-2009). In 2011 the World Economic Forum selected him as a Young Global Leader.
In addition to his longstanding dedication to advancing national and regional defense issues in Colombia, he has specialized in economics, public policy and strategic studies. He has also held positions as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of the World Bank, Vice President of the Colombian Banking Association, Assistant Vice President of Investment Banking at Citibank, Private Secretary and Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Finance, and Economist for Colombia at Citigroup.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Pinzón received an honorable mention for his outstanding academic performance while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. He holds a Master of Science in Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, and he was awarded a scholarship to receive his Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
This event is co-sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.