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Juan Carlos Pinzón

Guest Speaker

Professional affiliation

Colombian Ambassador to the United States

Full Biography

The Honorable Juan Carlos Pinzón is the Ambassador of Colombia to the United States. 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 and criminal bands, highly degrading their capabilities, structure, and leadership. 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 soldiers 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. He has also served 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. Pinzón taught economics at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and the Universidad de Los Andes. A native of Bogotá, 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 was awarded a scholarship to receive his Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Pinzón also completed advanced courses in international relations and strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, and in science and technology at Harvard University.