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José María Figueres Olsen Biography

José María Figueres served as President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998. As such, he was the youngest President of a Central American country in modern times. During his presidency, he created a comprehensive national Sustainable Development strategy combining sound macroeconomic indicators, together with strategic investment in human development, and a strong alliance with nature through the implementation of innovative environmental policies. Prior to serving as President he was Minister of Foreign Trade (1987-1988) and Minister of Agriculture (1988-1990).

In the international arena he has pioneered the linkage between Sustainable Development and technology, in the realms of business, public service, and non-profit organizations. He helped create and lead the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (ICT) and is the founder of the Fundación Costa Rica para el Desarrollo Sostenible (Entebbe) in Costa Rica. In 2000, President Figueres joined the World Economic Forum and became its first CEO in 2003, where he strengthened global corporate ties to social and governmental sectors by identifying common long-term interests.

Today he continues to work in the fields of technology and development, and is currently the CEO of CONCORDIA 21, based in Spain, dedicated to the support of organizations which promote development and democratic values around the world.

He holds an Industrial Engineering Degree from US Military Academy at West Point, and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.