Ambassador from Colombia: Who is Gabriel Silva?
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Gabriel Silva Luján began his second stint as Colombia’s ambassador to the United States in August 2010. He previously held this post in the mid-1990s.
Silva was born on October 5, 1957, in Barranquilla. One of nine children, he completed his secondary education at the Colegio San Carlos. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of the Andes in Bogotá, and then earned his graduate degree in economics and international relations from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He also was an honorary fellow of the Ford Foundation.
His work in the public sector began in 1986, when he became a political advisor to President Virgilio Barco.
Between 1990 and 1993, Silva served as an advisor on international politics to President César Gaviria.
In 1994, he was named ambassador to the United States and worked to promote the Andean Trade Preference Agreement, as well as numerous economic and security issues affecting the bilateral relationship between the two nations.
From 1995 to 2002, Silva pursued several business projects, including co-founding PetroColombia SA,, and in 1996, the Newbridge Andean Partners investment fund. He was also the founding president of the Barbados-based Global Tuition and Education Insurance Corporation and Global Life Insurance SA.
He served as CEO of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia from 2002 to 2009. Since 1959, Colombian coffee had been represented by a fictional character named Juan Valdez. As soon as Silva took charge of the Federation, he launched a chain of Juan Valdez cafés. In 2006, the Federation, looking for a new image, chose a new, younger Juan Valdez, who was an actual coffee grower.
Silva returned to government service in August 2009, becoming minister of defense under President Álvaro Uribe.
He has authored several books on Colombia and was a columnist for the newspaper El Tiempo. He is a member of the board of several non-governmental organizations dealing with environmental conservation and protection, including the Fundación Natura Colombia and the ProSierrra Foundation.
Silva and his wife, Mariana Espinosa de Silva, have four children.
Official Biography (Embassy of Colombia)
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