The EU-LAC Foundation commemorates its first Executive Director Ambassador Jorge Valdez Carrillo

In the framework of its 10th anniversary, on 23 November 2021, the EU-LAC Foundation renamed its meeting room "Ambassador Jorge Valdez Carrillo", commemorating its first Executive Director, who passed away in 2020. The event was attended by Mrs Leire Pajín (President of the EU-LAC Foundation), Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez Reinel (Ambassador of Peru to Belgium and Luxembourg, Head of Mission to the European Union), and Mrs Corinna Nienstedt (Head of State Office Hamburg). In addition, connected by virtual means, Mrs Bettina Trüb - the first employee of the EU-LAC Foundation who, together with Ambassador Valdez, significantly supported the first steps of this young organisation - was also present. The commemoration took place in the framework of the 10th Anniversary of the EU-LAC Foundation, thus paying tribute to its work for the strengthening of the EU-CELAC strategic partnership.

The moving event was opened with the words of the President of the EU-LAC Foundation, Leire Pajín, highlighting Ambassador Valdez as one of the driving forces of the Foundation. Then, Mrs Corinna Nienstedt, Head of the State Office of Hamburg, remembered Ambassador Valdez on behalf of the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, as a "man of refined diplomacy, deep understanding of Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and of subtle persistence, all of this made him the ideal man for the job which was to build up the EU-LAC Foundation from the starting point."

In a very personal testimony, Mrs Bettina Trüb, the first employee of the EU-LAC Foundation stated that "seeing the Foundation at its 10th anniversary to me is like watching a child grow up, it is such a pleasure to see it today as an established organisation with a strong role in the bi-regional partnership and in large parts, it is thanks to the early work of the ambassador Jorge Valdez who helped this bi-regional baby on its way to its first steps." Closing the commemorative event, the Ambassador of Peru to Belgium and Luxembourg, Head of Mission to the European Union, Gonzalo Gutiérrez Reinel, underlined his country's commitment to the International Organisation and acknowledged Ambassador Valdez's support to Peru's diplomatic service.

Ambassador Jorge Valdez had a long and distinguished diplomatic career, holding various senior positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru. Since 1998 he served as Vice Minister and Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs of Peru. Subsequently, he held other high-profile positions such as Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations and Ambassador to South Africa. In addition, he was Advisor to the General Secretariat of the Andean Community where he advised on issues of political and security cooperation and common foreign policy, as well as Advisor to the Rector of the Pontificia Universidad Católica where he advised on the creation of the Faculty of Management and Senior Management.

His remarkable work and dedication led him to be appointed in 2007 as Ambassador of Peru to Belgium and Luxembourg, leading the Peruvian Mission to the European Union. In this role, he promoted the creation of the EU-LAC Foundation, seeking to strengthen ties between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. He demonstrated a genuine commitment to bi-regional cooperation. It is therefore not surprising that he was elected by acclamation of sixty countries from both regions to be the first Executive Director of this newly created institution. This fact, consecrated in 2011 in the city of Santiago de Chile, would become a milestone in the history of the EU-LAC Foundation.

As the first Executive Director, he laid the foundations for its structure and initiatives, drawing on his deep culture, experience and vision of bi-regional relations. He was dedicated to the creation of networks between business, academia and civil society in the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean in the context of bi-regional summit agendas. His main challenges were to develop social ownership and visibility of the partnership process between the two regions. 

At the end of his career, Ambassador Valdez served as Ambassador of Peru in Chile, receiving the decoration Orden Bernardo O'Higgins, in the degree of Grand Cross, which was added to the Order of Merit of Chile, in the degree of Grand Cross, received in 1999. His legacy lives on in the daily work of Peru and of the EU-LAC Foundation, which is now in its tenth year of building bridges between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean, as promoted by Mr Valdez.