• date_range September 25, 26 and 27, 2018
  • location_on The Union League Club - New York, NY

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Carlos Mesa

Former President of Bolivia

The former President of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa is a historian, politician and journalist. He studied literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad San Andres de la Paz in Bolivia, from where he graduated in 1978. In 2002 he was elected Vice President of the Republic and President of the National Congress between 2002 and 2003. He was Bolivia's Constitutional President between 2003-2005.  During his Administration the country's Constitution was reformed, the Constitutent Assembly was convened, direct elections for governors were held, and a Referendum on Autonomies was also held.  Also, his Administration significantly lowered a high fiscal deficit, reactivated the economy with a significant growth of the GDP, duplicated exports and pushed forth the concept of respect for life and human rights as State policies.  In 2014 he was given the responsibility of being the Official Representative of Bolivia for Maritime Demands.  He was founder and Director of Bolivia's Film Institute (1976) and a current Trustee.  Since 1979 he has worked as a journalist in press, radio and television media outlets.  He was also under director of the local newspaper Ultima Hora and director of the three television channels:  America TV, Telesistema Boliviano and ATB (1985-1990).  Since 1985 he has also been a television commentator. For 19 years he was the director of the interview program De Cerca (1983-2002).  Founder and director (1990-2002 and 2005-2007) of the Association of Television Journalists; producer (1990-1998) and television network (since 1998).  He was founder and President of the Fundación Comunidad (2007-2014), an institution whose goal was to contribute to the strengthening of the democratic institutions and human rights.  He is the General  Director of the television production company Plano Medio. Also, author of more than two dozen books, including: Presidentes de Bolivia: Entre Urnas y Fusiles (1983, cinco ed.), La Aventura del Cine Boliviano (1985); Historia de Bolivia (1997, nueve ed.); Presidencia Sitiada (2008, cinco ed.); La Sirena y el Charango, Ensayo sobre el Mestizaje (2013, tres ed.); the novel Soliloquio del Conquistador (2014, dos ed.), and La Historia del Mar Boliviano (2016). He has produced more than 100 video documentaries, with Mario Espinoza and Ximena Valdivia.  His series, consisting of 24 historical documentaries and titled Bolivia Siglo XX (2009) is an important reference regarding Bolivian history through audiovisuals.  The series consists of five documentaries on the  problems and challenges faced by Bolivia's environment, titled  Planeta Bolivia (2016). Along with Ramiro Molina Barrios and Juan Carlos Enriquez.  In 1994, with Mario Espinoza, he won the King of Spain's Journalism Award.  In  the year 2000 he received the journalism award granted by the Fundación M. V. Ballivián.  In 2012 he received Bolivia's National Journalism Award.  He is a member of the Bolivian Academy of History and the Bolivian Historical Society.