“President Bachelet is widely acknowledged to be one of Latin America's most accomplished and popular heads of state,” said Ambassador Carla A. Hills, the US Co-Chair of the Inter-American Dialogue and former US trade representative.
“She will bring to the Dialogue both credibility and fresh thinking. I very much look forward to working with her in pursuit of a common agenda,” Hills said.
Bachelet, who served as president from 2006 to 2010 and achieved important advances in women's equity and child health and education, is currently directing her own foundation, Fundación Dialoga.
Before becoming president she served as minister of Defence and minister of Health under former president Ricardo Lagos, whom she succeeds as the Dialogue's Latin American co-chair.
Bachelet, a socialist and the first woman president of Chile, is a paediatric physician and has studied military strategy. She was imprisoned by the Pinochet regime in 1975, held in a torture centre with her mother, and both went into exile in Europe until 1979.
Upon accepting the Dialogue's co-chair, Bachelet pointed to a strong fit between her main concerns and those of the Dialogue.
“I am eager to engage with colleagues throughout the hemisphere to produce and promote innovative ideas for more effective social policies,” Bachelet said. “This is the best way to improve citizenship and democracy.”
Former IDB president Enrique Iglesias, who serves as the Dialogue's Co-Vice Chair, said that “the arrival of President Bachelet will add to the work of our Dialogue. She is an outstanding Latin-American leader who brought to the government of her country an admirable combination of economic responsibility, social commitment, and ethical values. She will be a real asset to inspire the members and strengthen the principles of the Inter-American Dialogue”.
Current members of the Inter-American Dialogue's Board of Directors include Carla A. Hills; co-vice chairs Enrique Iglesias of Uruguay and former Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty; former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and Ricardo Lagos of Chile; CAF president Enrique García; professor and author Francis Fukuyama; former Canadian foreign minister Pierre Pettigrew; former Colombian senator and Defence Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez; and former Vice-president of Guatemala Eduardo Stein.