The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, received today the prominent scholar Javier Medina-Vásquez, who took over as the United Nations regional organization’s new Interim Deputy Executive Secretary.
“His experience points to his management capacity in positions of great responsibility and strong national and international, interagency and inter-ministerial articulation, planning and implementation of complex projects. He is qualified to work in inter, multi and transdisciplinary teams, and can contribute to forging a forward-looking and strategic culture at ECLAC,” José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs emphasized upon confirming his appointment.
A Colombian national, Medina has 34 years of professional experience. He served as Vice-Chancellor for Research at the Universidad del Valle, the third-largest public university in Colombia (2016-2017); Director of the Office of Planning and Institutional Development (2004); founder and Director of the Institute of Foresight, Innovation and Knowledge Management (2008–2012; 24 studies); and leader of the Strategic Plans for Institutional Development (2005-2015) and (2015-2025).
He was also the head of the National Program of Technological and Industrial Foresight of Colciencias, which is currently the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (2003–2007; 32 studies) and Coordinator of the Open Network of Foresight and Innovation of the Ibero-American Program on Science and Technology for Development – CYTED (2017-2022).
ECLAC’s new authority has published widely on foresight and planning for development, earning him recognition as a member of the Colombian Academy of Economic Sciences, in 2021. Since 1989, he has led more than 50 projects on territorial, technological, corporate, educational and cultural foresight, on concrete applications in industrial sectors, with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism; in production chains, with the Ministry of Agriculture; and in vocational training, with the National Training Service (SENA).
He is the author and co-author of 160 publications, including the main author of the books Foresight for an Interdependent World (2023), Opening Pathways for Foresight in Latin America and the Caribbean (2020) and Shared Future Vision (2003).
With the Latin American Institute for Social and Economic Planning (ILPES) of ECLAC, he published the “Strategic Foresight and Decision-Making Manual: Theoretical Foundations and Instruments for Latin America and the Caribbean” (ILPES, 2006) and “Foresight and Public Policy for Structural Change in Latin America and the Caribbean” (ECLAC, 2014).
Since 2003, he has actively participated in international networks with the European Commission, the Convenio Andrés Bello (CAB) and The Millennium Project’s Ibero-American Futurists Network (RIBER). He is the Vice President of the Colombian Foresight Network and belongs to the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF).
He studied in the Jesuit community at the Colegio Berchmans in Cali and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1997 – 2001), where he obtained a doctorate in Social Sciences with an emphasis on Human and Social Forecasting, directed by Eleonora Barbieri Masini, former president of the World Futures Studies Federation and historic pioneer on a global level. His dissertation was awarded the distinction of Summa Cum Laude. He holds a Master’s in Administration and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the Universidad del Valle. He has been a full professor at this last institution since 1993. He was manager of the Doctorate in Administration (2009) and created the Master’s degree in Foresight and Innovation (2020).
At ECLAC, he was an ILPES student in 1993, and since 1996 he has participated as a professor and consultant on technical assistance projects at around 50 events in 15 countries of the region. For the Regional Councils for Planning, he contributed to preparing documents such as “Basic Planning Functions” (1999-2000) and “Resilient Institutions for a Transformative Post-pandemic Recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean: Inputs for Discussion” (2021).
“I want to wish Javier great success in his new responsibilities, and I’m certain he will have everyone’s support in that sense,” affirmed ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.