COSTA RICA POLITICS: Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera Biography
Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera was born in San Jose, Costa Rica on April 25, 1958, and he is a professor, politician and a diplomat. He has also held management positions in philanthropic and multilateral organizations in Costa Rica and internationally. Solís was the chief of staff for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when Rodrigo Madrigal Nieto was the Minister, one of the advocates for the peace process in Central America during the first Oscar Arias Sanchez administration (1986-1990).
Later he was the ambassador for Central American Affairs and subsequently the director general for foreign policy with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1998 during José María Figueres Olsen’s administration. In the political field, Solís was the sub secretary for international affairs, coordinator of foreign policy and finally secretary general of the Liberacion Nacional Party (PLN), where he was an activist for more than 30 years.
He resigned from PLN on January 16, 2005 after denouncing serious irregularities in internal party elections. Prior to this, other important party leaders had also abandoned this party, including former First Lady Josette Altman, former Minister Juan Manuel Villasuso, party leader Mariano Figueres, former presidential candidate Jose Miguel Corrales and former president of the Social Security Administration, Guido Miranda. After leaving PLN, Solís remained independent until 2009 when he joined the Acción Ciudadana Party (PAC), formally announcing his pre-candidacy for president in 2012.
Solís has been a professor of history and political science at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), sub director of the School of Political Science, director of the Central American Post Graduate Program in Political Science, and vice dean of the School of Social Sciences. Today, he continues to be a tenured professor with UCR where he has worked for almost 30 years. He also held a position with National University as a professor, as well as extension director and afterwards the academic director for the School of Social Sciences.
Solís was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Michigan and at the Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. At FIU he was an associate researcher with the Latin American and Caribbean Center. Between 2004 and 2008 he worked as research coordinator at the Secretary General’s Office of the Latin American School of Social Sciences. He has written 10 books as an author, co-author and editor. He has edited more than 60 academic articles in specialized magazines published in Central America, South America, Europe and the United States.
For many years he has contributed to Central American development in philanthropic and multilateral organizations. He was the program coordinator of the Center for the Administration of Justice at FIU and was the director of the Arias Foundation Peace and Reconciliation Center. He was the founder of the Foundation for Peace and Democracy where he participated as the project coordinator.
He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Academic Council for the United Nations System and of the Editorial Board of several magazines; Foreign Affairs in Spanish, the Northern Border and Global Governance magazine. He collaborated as editor on international issues with La Republica newspaper (1990-1994) and continues to be a commentator for several national and international communication media. From April 2001 to October 2008 he was the co-host of University Radio Breakfasts program, a weekly show on University of Costa Rica Radio.
Solís is the son of Vivienne Rivera Allen, an educator with the School of Education of the University of Costa Rica, and the small entrepreneur Freddy Solís Avendaño. Both his grandfather, Luis Solís Garita and his father were shoemakers and became small industrialists with the support of policies that fostered production in the 1950’s in Costa Rica.
The Turrialba Hospital was named after his great uncle William Allen, who the same as his grandmother Eugenia Allen Taylor and his great grandmother Maria Taylor were Afro-Caribbean, originally from Jamaica, who arrived in Costa Rica in the early twentieth century. Solís grew up in San Pedro de Montes de Oca and Curridabat in San Jose.
He was a student at the UCR Laboratory School and the Methodist High School. He studied history at the University of Costa Rica and subsequently received a scholarship for post-graduate studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. He obtained a master’s degree in Latin American studies, majoring in history and political science.
– Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera Biography (world affairs)