Ernesto Samper Pizano was President of Colombia from 1994 to 1998. He began his career as Congressman of Cundinamarca in 1982 to 1984, Councilor of Bogota from 1982 to 1986 and member of the Senate from 1986 to 1990.
He has likewise held various executive positions, including: Ambassador to the Assembly of the United Nations in 1983; Ambassador of Colombia in Spain from 1991 to 1992; Minister of Economic Development in the years of 1990 and 1991 and coordinator of the meetings of Ex-Presidents of Latin America in the Global Agenda from 2000 to 2005.
He was born in Bogota on August 3rd of 1950. He is married and has 3 children. He studied Law in the Javeriana University of Colombia and later obtained a Master’s Degree in Economics. He took several courses at the University of Columbia in New York and the ‘Nacional Financiera de Mexico’ in Mexico. In addition he has been a member of the Liberal Party since his youth. He became President of the National Association of Financial Institutions at a young age (ANIF, Spanish Acronym).
Samper quickly put himself in position to become one of the leaders of the Liberal Party. In which he soon created a movement called “Poder Popular” (People Power), which defended the center-left positions within the party. This position had been created by Lopez Michelsen twenty years previous and was passed down to the Liberal Party from the Liberal Revolutionary Movement.
Since running for office Samper began to promote Social Leaps for his country. He soon began the creation of programs such as the ‘Sisben Network’, which expanded the number of Colombian people receiving health services and Social Security to 23 million. This he achieved by providing financial support to marginalized sectors.
Several highlights of his government were the establishment of the Ministry of Culture; providing land to Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities; creating the ‘Plante Program’ which served for illegal crop substitution; and approval of the I and II protocols of the Geneva Convention which relate to respect for human rights in the midst of armed conflict.
In addition to his political career, Ernesto Samper has been a professor at a number of well-known Universities and taught a range of different topics. Namely, he taught "Colombian Realities" at the Central University of Bogota; "Economic Development" at the Javeriana University; "Capital Markets" at the Andes University; and "Global Integration Processes" in the Polytechnic Foundation Grancolombiano in Bogota. He also was a visiting professor to several European universities and taught subjects such as "Latin America and Globalization" at the universities of Salamanca and Alcala de Henares in Spain; and in the Institute of Latin American Studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France.
In his outstanding career he has received important national and international awards, including the ‘Grand Cruz de Boyaca’, (Grand Cross of Boyaca) in Colombia, the ‘Orden del Libertador Simon Bolivar’, (Order of the Liberator Simon Bolivar) in Venezuela, among others.