Press Releases

                16 JULY 2004

    Biographical Note

    Juan Gabriel Valdes Appointed Special Representative and Head of UN Mission in Haiti

    NEW YORK, 15 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General has decided to appoint Juan Gabriel Valdes of Chile as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Ambassador Valdes will take up his position in August 2004.

    Mr. Valdes has enjoyed a long and distinguished political, diplomatic and academic career.  He is currently Chile’s Ambassador to Argentina, a position that he has held since mid-2003. From 2000 until 2003, he was Chile’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. In 1999 he served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of his country, and from 1996 until 1999 as Vice-Minister for International Economic Affairs in the Chilean Foreign Ministry. Between 1994 and 1996, he worked as Director of the International Division of the Ministry of Finance and Cooperation of the North American Free Trade Agreement Negotiating Team. In 1996, he was lead negotiator of the Free Trade Agreement between Chile and Canada.

    Mr. Valdes began his professional career in 1972 as a researcher for the Political Science Institute at Universidad Católica de Chile. Exiled under Chile’s military regime, he lived in the United States, where he worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.  In 1976, he moved to Mexico, where he joined the Latin American Institute for Transnational Studies. He also took the position of Professor of International Relations at the Economic Research and Development Centre for Mexico.

    In 1981, Mr. Valdes coordinated the study group of the transnationalization process of the Latin American International Relations Programme of the United Nations. In 1984 and 1987, he was a research fellow at the Kellogg Institute of International Studies of Notre Dame University and at the Centre for Latin American Studies at Princeton University.  In 1985, he worked as a consultant at the Economic Commission for Latin America.

    After his return to Chile, he combined his professional and academic activities with an active participation in the political struggle in the country.  In 1994, he served as consultant to the United Nations Development Programme in Santiago.  In 1995, he was appointed a member of the National Television Council.

    Mr. Valdes holds a PhD in Political Science from Princeton University and a Master’s degree in Political and Latin American Studies from Essex University in Great Britain. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Law School of the Universidad Católica de Chile. He has many publications, which include numerous articles on international relations.

    He is married with four children.

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    * This press release supersedes Press Release BIO/3290 of 17 May 2000.