Three Questions for Incoming Fletcher Professor and 48th President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada

Diplomacy expert and climate champion reflects on goals, impact and what it takes to tackle seemingly impossible challenges.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada


Professor Alvarado, formerly President Alvarado, arrived recently on the Fletcher campus and shared with us his goals and plans as he embarks on a new chapter in academia.


Q1. How does the transition to professor fit with your post Presidency career goals?

A1. Teaching will allow me to combine two key career goals.

The first is sharing my experience with the up-and-coming generation of new leaders, hoping that somehow the lessons learned — sometimes the hard way — as a relatively young President in the current, complicated world context will help them carry the torch forward.

My other goal is to keep making as many contributions as possible in subjects that are pretty close to my heart, such as fostering impactful climate action, strengthening democracy and promoting social inclusion.


Q2. You’ll soon be in the classroom teaching Fletcher students who are on their way to becoming global changemakers. They will learn a lot from you. What do you hope to learn from them?

A2. I do look forward to learning what this new generation of young leaders feel very passionate about, and helping them take their abilities, commitment and energy to the next level in order to have maximum impact on issues they really do care about. Their idealism and new takes on the challenges of our era will boost my personal commitment to effecting positive change in our society and our world.


Q3. What are the top three skills our students need to master to increase their chances of success in tackling the rapidly escalating, increasingly dire issue of climate change?

A3. Courage, resiliency and what I would call rigorous ingenuity. They will need a lot of courage to tackle challenges that might seem impossible to overcome at first, but that must be conquered nonetheless. They will need resiliency to not despair and not give up, but rather keep pushing for the goals that need to be achieved to protect our environment and our livelihoods. And, finally, a mix of ingenuity and rigorousness to come up with novel and sound solutions for the most pressing challenges posed by the climate crisis.

Photo credit: Roberto Carlos Sanchez