Michelle Bachelet

Born:September 29, 1951 (age 70)
Career:United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2018-2022
President of Chile, 2006-2010 and 2014-2018
Executive Director of UN Women, 2010-2013
President pro tem of the Union of South American Nations, 2008-2009
Minister for National Defense (Chile), 2002-2004
Minister for Health (Chile), 2000-2002
Party:Socialist Party
Education:University of Chile

Michelle Bachelet has served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018. She announced on June 13, 2022, that she would be stepping down from that role when her term expires at the end of August. Bachelet had served as president of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to be elected as president of Chile and as head of a major South American nation.

Bachelet was born September 29, 1951, in Santiago, Chile. She studied medicine at the University of Chile, earning a medical degree with a specialty in pediatrics in1982. She also studied medicine at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and German language at Leipzig University in the late 1970s. Following, Bachelet studied military strategy at Chile's National Security Academy and Military War College and completed the Continental Defense Course from the Inter-American Defense College in 1997. She also graduated from the War Academy of the Chilean Army. As a public official, Bachelet's background and family life resonated with many Chileans, for as a young woman she was jailed and tortured by Augusto Pinochet's military junta, which was responsible for thousands of human-rights violations from 1973 until 1990.

Between her terms as president of Chile, Bachelet served as the first under-secretary general and executive director of United Nations Women from 2010 to 2013. Prior to her first term as president, Bachelet worked as a pediatrician at a Swedish-run clinic for children of political prisoners until 1990. After 1994, she also served as an advisor to the Chilean Ministry of Health and became a senior advisor with the Chilean Ministry of Defense in 1998, being the first woman to ever hold such a cabinet post in Latin America. She was appointed Minister of Health by President Ricardo Lagos in 2000 and served two years before Lagos made her Minister of Defense in 2002.

Photograph by Comando Michelle Bachelet (Michelle Bachelet) [CC BY-SA 3.0 cl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/cl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Speeches