Juan Carlos Pinzón

Influential Diplomat, Politician, and Economist; Ambassador of Colombia to the United States (2021-2022 & 2015-2017); Colombian Minister of National Defense (2011-2015)
Headshot of Speaker Juan Carlos Pizon in a blue shirt
  • Two-time Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S. who led the strengthening of political and economic ties between the two countries
  • Unparalleled expertise on business opportunities and risks in Latin America, as well as the issues of the day in the region and their far-reaching impact
  • Brings an insider’s perspective on Latin America’s importance as the global power competition evolves and new powers begin to emerge

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The honorable Juan Carlos Pinzón is widely recognized as a pivotal player in upholding the strong diplomatic ties between the United States and Colombia and furthering the relationship between the two nations. Having served two terms as Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, Pinzón is counted among the most influential voices in shaping the priorities of the partnership and was the linking presence between American and Colombian leaders in collaborating to address the most important political, economic, and societal challenges in both countries, and across the globe.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Pinzón brings a diplomatic eye to far-reaching issues in politics, policy, economics, and national security in Latin America, as well as the potential impact on the United States and around the world. Pinzón possesses expert-level insights of the opportunities, risks, and facts of the matter as it pertains to the issues of the day in Latin America. In addition to breaking down complex concepts in a way that audiences can understand and relate to, he masterfully weaves in important anecdotes and lessons in leadership based on his own real-life experiences as the bridge between two of the world’s most powerful nations.

Pinzón was sworn in for his second term as ambassador of Colombia by President Iván Duque in July 2021 and served in the position for the next year. His previous term in Washington lasted from 2015-2017. Among his many accomplishments as ambassador were the approval of the Peace Colombia funding package for security and development, and the establishment of the U.S.-Colombia Business Council at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in both the public and private sectors. He was previously appointed president and CEO of the Foundation for the Progress of the Capital Region — ProBogotá, a private nonprofit for the promotion of common good, public policy, and long-term strategic projects for Colombia’s capital region. Before that, he launched a bid for Colombia’s presidency and later became a vice presidential candidate. Prior to his presidential pursuits, Pinzón served as the youngest and longest-serving Minister of Defense in Colombia’s history. Under his leadership, the armed forces successfully minimized the threats of terrorist organizations and criminal enterprises, and improved security conditions meant Colombia reached its lowest homicide rate in more than 35 years. He has been ranked multiple times as the best Minister of Defense in the country’s history based on the results of his policies, initiatives to enhance the welfare of the troops, and the transparency by which he led the office. Pinzón’s other roles in public service include Chief of Staff to President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2011) and Vice Minister of Defense (2006-2009). He has also held executive roles at World Bank, the Banking Association of Colombia, Citigroup Colombia, and Citibank, and was a professor of economics at Javeriana and Andes Universities.

An impactful leader who has overseen transformative policy decisions in the U.S.-Colombia partnership, Pinzón received the Best Diplomatic Delegation in Washington recognition by the World Affairs Council and, in 2011, was named a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. He has been awarded 65 national medals, including the Great Cross of the Order of Boyacá — the highest award granted by Colombia — and the Distinguished Medal for Public Service by the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Lessons in crime reduction from Colombia

A Diplomatic Analysis of the Politics and Economics in Latin America. Previously the Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S., few possess the level of expertise and insights as Juan Carlos Pinzón when it comes to breaking down, and tying together, the ins and outs of the current political and economic landscape in Latin America and relating it to current events in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. In this talk, Pinzón examines the changes in politics, policy, and economics that are taking place, explains the anticipated impact as Latin America continues to evolve, highlights can’t-miss investment opportunities in the region for the US and its businesses, and opens the audience’s eyes to Latin America’s potential in an increasingly complex world.

The Past, Present, and Future of the US in Latin America. The U.S.-Colombian partnership has endured the test of time and continues to grow stronger, having crossed the bicentennial mark. A power player in diplomatic relations between the two nations in recent times, former Ambassador of Colombia to the United States Juan Carlos Pinzón takes audiences through history and into the present day as he shares an insider’s perspective on the U.S.’s relationship with Colombia to set the scene for the current day between the two nations, and examine the U.S.’s interests in Latin America as a whole. In this talk, he provides a high-level overview of where the U.S. and its corporations’ priorities stand in Latin America and why, and puts forth practical ideas for how to manage current risks in the region.

The Effects of Global Power Competition. With the rise of new world powers, inevitably comes increased competition as the world’s leading nations vie to impart their influence and further their interests. Prominent political and economic expert and two-time Ambassador of Colombia to the United States Juan Carlos Pinzón leads a fascinating discussion as he describes the current global power competition (GPC) and investigates the roles of China, Russia, and Iran in Latin America and around the world, as well as how Latin American countries play into the GPC.

National Security in Latin America. Before his appointment as Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzón served as Colombia’s Minister of Defense from 2011-2015. Under his leadership, Colombia’s armed forces greatly minimized the threats of terrorist organizations and criminal enterprises by degrading their capabilities, structure, and leadership, leading the country to improved security conditions and its lowest homicide rate in 35 years. Tapping into his national security acumen of the region, Pinzón leads the audience in a study of the current and potential areas of conflict and disruption in Latin America — both in the physical and digital realm. In doing so, he demonstrates the interconnectedness of Latin America’s national security with the rest of the world, while also outlining action steps for strengthening the protections in place, beginning with the military.

Lessons in Leadership. A leader in both the public and private sectors, two-time Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S. Juan Carlos Pinzón draws from his experiences serving as the link between the U.S. and Colombia, advising the world’s most powerful figures, and driving policy that strengthened international relations to share powerful lessons for leading in highly complex environments. Pinzón takes audience members behind the scenes, revisiting his time as Colombia’s youngest and longest-serving civilian Minster of Defense and his special ops success in the boundaries of democracy and human rights, among other pivotal moments in his career, and provides actionable strategies for how leaders in any field can break through to their people, drive them to action, and achieve their goals.

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