Juan Carlos Pinzón is the Columbian ambassador to the United States. Throughout his career, Pinzón has been a leader in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, Pinzón served as the minister of defense of Colombia for nearly four years. Under his leadership, the Armed Forces dealt the most severe blows to terrorist organizations – FARC and ELN – and Criminal Bands, highly degrading their capabilities, structure and leadership, which was critical to President Santos’ peace strategy. This resulted in improved security conditions throughout the country and the lowest homicide rate in 35 years. During his tenure, the Armed Forces’ equipment and training was modernized, the welfare of the men and women in uniform and their families was improved, and a transformation plan for the next 20 years was designed. Colombia also became an exporter of security expertise, aiding more than 60 nations.
Prior to serving as defense minister, Pinzón was chief of staff to President Juan Manuel Santos (2010–2011) and vice minister of defense (2006-2009). In 2011, the World Economic Forum selected him as a “Young Global Leader.” In addition to his longstanding dedication to advancing national and regional defense issues in Colombia, he has specialized in economics, public policy and strategic studies. He has also held positions such as senior advisor to the executive director of the World Bank, vice president of the Colombian Banking Association, assistant vice president of investment banking at Citibank, private secretary and chief of staff for the Ministry of Finance and an economist for Colombia at Citigroup.
Pinzón taught economics at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and the Universidad de Los Andes. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Pinzón received an honorable mention for his outstanding academic performance while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. He holds a Master of Science in economics from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, and he was awarded a scholarship to receive his master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Pinzón also completed advanced courses in international relations and strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, and in science and technology at Harvard University.
Pinzón is married to Pilar Lozano and has two children, Natalia and Juan Pablo.