H.E. Jose Maria Figueres
Former President, Costa Rica
After a successful business career, José María Figueres began his years of public service in 1987 when he was appointed Minister of Foreign Trade and later Minister of Agriculture and Livestock. In 1994 he was elected President of Costa Rica at the age of 39. As President he created a national development strategy combining environmental, social and economic policies. He also led the nexus between sustainable development and technology. He received numerous international awards for his work, including the first Leadership Award from the Global Environmental Facility (1999).
After twelve years of public service, José María began his international career in 1999 when he was appointed President of the United Nations Task Force on ICTs. He joined the executive board of the World Economic Forum in 2000 and in 2003 he was appointed the organization’s first Managing Director. In 2005, together with Diego Hidalgo, founder of FRIDE and the Club of Madrid, he was responsible for the organization of the Transition and Democratic Consolidation Summit in which 22 heads of state participated with the objective of finding answers to the growing international terrorism. Then in 2009 he joined the Carbon War Room, created by Sir Richard Branson, first as Chairman of the Board and then also as its Managing Director. José María helped establish the Global Oceanic Commission in 2012, which he later led as co-chair along with David Miliband and Trevor Manuel. Today he is the Co-President of Ocean Unite and is on the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room.
José María is an Engineer graduated from West Point, the United States Military Academy and has a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is married to Cinthya Berrocal and has two children, José María and Eugenia from his first marriage.