Luis Carlos Villegas
Ambassador of Colombia to the United States
Luis Carlos Villegas was appointed Ambassador of Colombia to the United States on November 13, 2013, by President Juan Manuel Santos.
Throughout his career, Villegas has been a leader in both the public and private sectors, including serving most recently as President of the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI), a position he held for more than 17 years. In addition, Villegas is a member of the Colombian government’s negotiating team in the ongoing peace talks with FARC.
While at the helm of ANDI, he served two terms as President of the National Business Council from 1998 to 1999 and 2002 to 2012. Villegas was also President of the Board of Directors of the Fund for the Reconstruction and Social Development for the Coffee Belt (FOREC) from 1999 to 2000 to face the effects of the earthquake that hit that important area of Colombia. In addition, he was President of the Association for CEE/Latin American Business Cooperation (ACE) and the Andean Business Advisory Council from 1998 to 1999. Prior to ANDI, he served as President of Corfioccidente from 1992 to 1995.
Besides his work on behalf of the Colombian business community, Villegas has also held a number of positions in public office. Between 1990 and 1992, he was a Senator representing the Risaralda department (state) of Colombia and served as its Governor between 1985 and 1986. He was also International Secretary of the Colombian Liberal Party from 1989 to 1994. Over the course of 10 years, between 1979 and 1989, Villegas served in various capacities, including Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; General Secretary of the National Federation of Coffee Growers; Secretary of the Commission of Foreign Affairs; Secretary-General and Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and as Economic Counselor at the Embassy of Colombia in Paris.
Villegas has been a member of numerous boards of directors, including Ecopetrol, the International Organization of Employers in Geneva, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) and the Colombian Foundation for Education and Opportunities (FundaColombia-CocaCola). Until recently, he was President of the Colombian Chapter of the Australian-Colombian Business Group and a Member of the Colombian-France Business Group, since 2005 and 2007, respectively. He has been awarded with the highest distinctions of the Colombian government and from the administrations of Spain, Italy, France, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru.
A native of Pereira, Colombia, Villegas received both his bachelor’s degree in Socioeconomics and Law degree from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. He also submitted a D.A. in Public Administration from the University of Paris. He is married to Carmela Restrepo and has two grown children, Juliana and Daniel.