OAS Authorities

Luis Almagro Lemes


Luis Almagro Lemes

Secretary General

Luis Almagro Lemes was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States on March 18, 2015, with the unanimous support of 33 of 34 member states, and one abstention. Upon taking leadership of the OAS, he announced that one of the central themes of his mandate will be “more rights for more people,” and that he would work to bring the Organization closer to the new realities in the Hemisphere and contribute to ensuring more democracy, security and prosperity for all.

A career diplomat, Almagro was Foreign Minister of Uruguay from 2010 to March 1, 2015, and has extensive regional and international experience. In addition, he was elected Senator in the national elections in Uruguay in October 2014.

His time at the head of Uruguayan diplomacy was characterized by activism in defense of human and civil rights at the regional and global level, the insertion of Uruguay into non-traditional markets, the diversification of these markets, and the strengthening of the image of Uruguay as a democratic, fair, tolerant, and diverse society, with ever increasing rights for more Uruguayans.

As Foreign Minister for President José Mujíca, he defined several emblematic initiatives that put the small South American country on the global map, from receiving former prisoners from Guantanamo, to welcoming dozens of Syrian families who had been victims of the country´s conflict, to building support in the United Nations so that, beginning in 2016, Uruguay will become part of the Security Council.

Moreover, Uruguay has maintained its presence in Haiti to ensure the continuity of the process of reconstruction in the country following the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Knowledgeable about the new regional alignments, Almagro was an active participant in the consolidation of UNASUR and CELAC and as member of the special UNASUR delegation to Venezuela in 2014 he was recognized as an advocate of dialogue between the government and the opposition to stop the violence at that moment.

As a consensus builder in the region and at the same time a driver of new initiatives, during his term at the head of the country´s diplomacy, he achieved the long-desired entry of citrus products into the United States, a key market for the sector, while moving forward with bilateral cooperation programs in areas of scientific-technical innovation.

For its part, Uruguay developed specific programs of cooperation for development with Bolivia, Paraguay, and several African nations in the context of the vision of international solidarity that characterized the term of the former Foreign Minister.

Mister Almagro was also Ambassador to China for five years, after occupying senior diplomatic posts in the Foreign Ministry of his country, and in the Embassies of Uruguay in Germany and Iran.

In 2014 Foreign Policy magazine named him a Leading Global Thinker, one of ten decision-makers in the world who have been granted this international distinction.

Almagro, a lawyer by profession, is married and has seven children. In addition to Spanish, he speaks English and French.

 

 

Nestor Mendez


Embajador Nestor Mendez

Assistant Secretary General

Nestor Mendez was elected to be the ninth Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) on March 18, 2015. He began serving his five-year term on July 13, 2015 with a commitment to work closely with the Secretary General and the member states to reinvigorate and modernize the institution.

The Assistant Secretary General based his platform on five main thematic areas: improving regional inter-connectivity; fostering economic growth, addressing the impacts of climate change and natural disasters; promoting partnerships for development, and working to empower and respond to the needs of the youth across the hemisphere. 

Upon receiving the mandate from member states, he pledged his “unwavering commitment to seize the opportunity that is before us to work together to transform the OAS into the Organization that we want and that the people of the Americas deserve.”     

Prior to his election, Nestor Mendez was a career diplomat in the Foreign Service of Belize. He served as the Ambassador to the United States of America, Permanent Representative to the OAS, and Non-Resident High Commissioner to Canada.

As Ambassador of Belize to the United States, he travelled throughout the country to engage with the Belizean Diaspora and to meet with prospective investors and companies interested in investing in Belize.  He also focused on a wide range of development issues pertaining to the Caribbean and Central America such as alternative sources of energy, micro, small and medium sized enterprises, trade and investment promotion, and security.

During his tenure as Permanent Representative of Belize to the OAS, Ambassador Mendez chaired several Councils and Committees of the organization including the Permanent Council, the Committee on Hemispheric Security, the Special Committee for Migration Issues, and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) where he focused on matters related to innovation, competitiveness, and supporting micro, small and medium sized enterprises as engines for economic growth and development. As Chair of the OAS Permanent Council, he used this platform to focus attention on climate change and introduced several institutional initiatives to increase awareness of the impact of this phenomenon, especially on the smaller and more vulnerable states.

Ambassador Mendez previously held diplomatic posts at the High Commission for Belize in London, United Kingdom where he served as Counsellor and at the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala where served as First Secretary. 

He holds a Master’s Degree in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., a Graduate Level Certificate in Diplomatic Studies from Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University College of Belize in Belize City, Belize. 

He is married and has two children.