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Marta Lucía Ramírez Blanco

Guest Speaker

Professional affiliation

Former Minister of Defense (2002-2003), Colombia

Full Biography

Marta Lucía Ramírez is a Colombian lawyer, former senator, former minister of defense and foreign trade, and past presidential candidate. She has been a member of the Inter-American Dialogue since 2004 and sits on the Board of Directors. Ramírez has been the CEO of multiple private sector companies and private associations, including ANIF (Financial Institutions Association), FEDELEASING, and the Coalition for Colombian Manufacturers Development. Ramírez was Colombia’s first female minister of national defense and the second woman in Latin America to hold this title. During her tenure, she centralized military spending, designed management indicators for the armed forces, consolidated training within the three branches of the military and National Police, and formed a civil commission for restructuring and strengthening the National Police. Ramírez also served as minister of foreign trade, from 1998-2002, as a senator from 2006-2009, and as a 2010 presidential candidate for the Conservative Party. In the Senate, she introduced legislative initiatives to: permit women to become generals in the military, increase the competitiveness of Colombia’s economy, lower unemployment, mandate English teaching in schools, recognize the rights of the internally displaced, and increase youth participation in public life. As President of the Colombian Industries Coalition, she published two more books with her team: Innovation for a Competitive Manufactured Industry in Colombia (2011) and Colombia under the International Indicators (2013). Ramírez earned a PhD in law and socioeconomic science from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in her native city of Bogotá.