Rafael Correa, born April 6, 1963, is an Ecuadorean economist, a former finance minister, and currently the president of Ecuador. President Correa was sworn in as president on January 15, 2007. As president, Correa has pursued economic policies aimed at alleviating poverty, limiting the influence of foreign corporations, and protecting the environment. In an attempt to preserve Ecuador’s unique ecological biodiversity, President Correa announced the Yasuní-ITT Initiative during the 2007 UN General Assembly. The Yasuní-ITT Initiative is a historical decision to permanently forego the extraction of the Yasuní Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) oil fields (about 846 million barrels). The Yasuní-ITT Initiative, which is being administered through a trust fund established by the United Nations Development Programme, has since raised millions of dollars from governments and private citizens throughout the world.
In 2005 President Correa served as the economy and finance minister. Upon leaving his position as finance minister, Dr. Correa founded the Alianza PAIS party. Before entering politics, President Correa was a professor in the Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is a tenured professor and director of the Department of Economics at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador.
President Correa received a master’s degree in economics from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2001. President Correa has published numerous scientific papers as well as two books on developmental economics published in Quito, Ecuador. In addition to Spanish, he is fluent in French, English, and Quechua—the language of the majority of the native Indian population concentrated in the Andes region.
Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011