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Sonia Picado Sotela

Chair, UN Advisory Board on Human Security; former Ambassador of Costa Rica to the US

Sonia Picado Sotela is chair of the UN Advisory Board on Human Security and former president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, which she also co-founded. This institute trains judges, lawyers, NGOs and private citizens on human rights and civil liberties issues in San Jose. Mrs. Picado worked at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, an official tribunal in Latin America and the Caribbean which is equivalent to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. From 1984 to 1994 Mrs. Picado was the first and only woman judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She is former Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States, and was the first Latin American woman to be dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Costa Rica (1980-84). Mrs. Picado was a member of the Committee of Jurists at the World Conference on Refugees, UNHCR in Geneva Switzerland. She is the author of numerous publications on human rights issues and has received several awards for her work, among them the Max Planck/Humboldt Award in Germany in 1991, and the UN Human Rights Award in 1993. She received her law degree at the University of Costa Rica.