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Carlos Alvarado Quesada: Fighting for Democracy and the Planet: Costa Rica’s Case

Bartels World Affairs Lecture

In this year's Bartels lecture from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, former president of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada shares how conservation and sustainability are crucial for preserving democracy around the world.

Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet, with more than one-quarter of the nation's land protected in parks and preserves. As Costa Rica's leader from 2018 to 2022, Alvarado proposed a challenge for his country and the world: to make Costa Rica a decarbonized nation by 2050.

During his visit to Cornell, Alvarado explores some of the questions that guided his administration: What roles do democracy and governance play in shaping environmental policies at the local, national, and global levels? And how can we meet the basic needs of the world’s ever-growing human population—equitably and democratically—without sacrificing the health of the planet and its other inhabitants?

A reception with refreshments will follow the lecture.

  • Lecture: 6:00–7:30 p.m. | Alice Statler Auditorium
  • Reception: 7:30–8:30 p.m. | Park Atrium

Free ticket required for in-person attendance. Reserve your ticket for the lecture and/or reception today!  Join the lecture virtually by registering at eCornell.


How did President Alvarado's policies protect Costa Rica's environment? Read a Bartels explainer by the Lab of O's Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez.


About Carlos Alvarado Quesada

Carlos Alvarado Quesada was Costa Rica's 48th president, serving from 2018 until 2022. He was Costa Rica's youngest president in a century, taking office at age 38. Representing the Citizens' Action Party (PAC), Alvarado previously served as minister of labor and social security.

Alvarado received the 2022 Planetary Leadership Award from the National Geographic Society for his commitment and action to protect the ocean. He accepted on behalf of his country the 2019 Champion of the Earth Award, the United Nations' highest environmental honor.

A writer and political scientist, Alvarado is currently Professor of Practice of Diplomacy at Tufts University's Fletcher School in Massachusetts.


About the Bartels World Affairs Lecture

The Bartels World Affairs Lecture is a signature event of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Part of Einaudi's work on democratic threats and resilience, this year's lecture is cosponsored by Einaudi's Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.

The Einaudi Center’s flagship event brings distinguished international figures to campus each academic year to speak on global topics and meet with Cornell faculty and students, particularly undergraduates. The lecture and related events are made possible by the generosity of Henry E. Bartels ’48 and Nancy Horton Bartels ’48.

Start Date: March 22, 2023
Start Time: 10:00 pm
Location: Alice Statler Auditorium