August 26, 2012

Former President of Chile to Speak at Cornell

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An outspoken champion of women’s rights and first female president of Chile will speak on gender equality in Statler Auditorium next week.

Michelle Bachelet currently serves as the first executive director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (commonly known as UN Women). On September 4, she will deliver the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies’ Bartels 2012 World Affairs Fellowship Lecture. Past speakers include journalist Fareed Zakaria, African business leader Mo Ibrahim and former president of Brazil Fernando Cardoso.

As the head of UN Women, Bachelet works with the UN organization, governments and private groups throughout the world to advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Bachelet served as president of Chile from 2006 to 2010, the first woman to hold that position. As president, she guided the country through the global economic crisis and spent billions to expand social programs. She is credited with championing a variety of issues such as pension reform, social protections for women and children, pay equity and education. Bachelet left office with a record 84 percent approval rating.

In 2006, Forbes named Bachelet the 17th most powerful woman in the world. A pediatrician before her political career, Bachelet also served as Minister of Health from 2000 to 2002, and as Minister of National Defense from 2002 to 2004.

Original Author: David Marten