Convocation speaker

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the 48th President of the Republic of Costa Rica, will deliver the Convocation speech for the Class of 2023 on Wednesday, May 24.

Carlos Alvarado QuesadaPresident Alvarado is widely recognized for helping make Costa Rica a world leader in the fight against climate change. During his tenure between May 2018 and May 2022, Costa Rica launched its National Decarbonization Plan, with the goal to achieve zero net emissions by 2050 – the first country in the world to make such a commitment after the 2015 Paris Agreement. Today, Costa Rica is closing in on that goal, with most of the country’s energy supply already coming from hydro, wind and geothermal power.

President Alvarado also led a successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic and advocated for increased international cooperation to ensure faster and more equitable access to vaccines. Before becoming president, he served as minister of labor and social security, minister of human development and social inclusion, and executive president of Costa Rica’s Joint Social Welfare Institute, which is responsible for implementing public programs helping the underprivileged population. As you may know, Costa Rica has substantially raised life expectancy and improved public health by putting prevention and primary care first, and President Alvarado has been instrumental in that effort.

During a fireside chat at Harvard Chan School in October, Alvarado encouraged students to pursue their passion with all their courage. “Change is possible,” he said. “If a small country like Costa Rica can do these things … you can make good change happen, too.”