Ninth Conference of Spouses of Heads of State and Government of the Americas







Ambassador María Teresa del Valle González Fernández de Solá

Ambassador María Teresa del Valle González Fernández de Solá, the incumbent Undersecretary for the Status of Women of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Religious Matters, is a historian and has broad experience in women’s issues. Between 1995 and 1998 she was in charge of the Directorate for the Status of Women, at the Ministry’s Directorate-General for Human Rights.

Currently, she is the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Commission for Monitoring the Platform of Action that emerged from the Fourth World Conference on Women carried out in Beijing in 1995 (Decree 928-98), and is the Argentine Head Representative before the Inter-American Commission of Women at the Organization of American States (CIM/OAS), under Decree No. 927.

The Bahamas

Delores Velma Miller Ingraham

Mrs. Delores Ingraham, a school teacher, is the Principal of C.C. Sweeting Senior High School, in Nassau, The Bahamas. She is the Patron of the AIDS Foundation in The Bahamas and the "Let’s Read Bahamas" programme. Mrs Ingraham also chaired the Council for the International Year of the Family in The Bahamas.

Mrs. Ingraham is married to the Right Honourable Hubert Alexander Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and is the mother of five children. Mrs. Ingraham holds an Advanced Diploma in Education and a Master of Arts Degree in Education, from the University of St. Thomas, U.S.Virgin Islands. Her hobbies include reading and gardening.


Beverley Jeane Arthur

Beverley Jeane Arthur is the wife of the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Right Honourable Owen S. Arthur, and has had a distinguished career as a nurse and health care administrator in Barbados, Jamaica, and the United States of America.

Mrs. Arthur is now a successful entrepreneur and devotes much of her time to social work, in particular in health related fields. She counts among her professional affiliations membership in the General Nursing Council of Barbados, the General Nursing Council of the United Kingdom, the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica, and the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses, U.S.A.


Joan Millicent Musa

Joan Millicent Musa, the wife of the Prime Minister of Bélize, is Executive Director of the Bélize Council for the Visually Impaired. A registered nurse specializing in ophthalmic nursing, Mrs. Musa served as Vice President of the Nurses Association of Bélize (1980-1984) and as Vice President of the Caribbean Council for the Blind (1988-1992).

Mrs. Musa is President of the National Women’s Commission of Bélize. She is also President of The Image Factory Art Foundation. The mother of four, who enjoys reading, swimming, sewing and computer applications in her spare time, has also received a Certificate in Management from the International Centre for Eye Health (1993) and a Certificate in Management from the World Blind Union (1995).


Yolanda Prada de Banzer

Mrs. Yolanda Prada de Banzer, the spouse of Hugo Banzer Súarez, President of Bolivia, was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia. During President Banzer’s first term in office, she created the "Junta Nacional de Desarollo Social" designed to assist poor families. The organization worked in three main areas: physically challenged children, social integration and rural education/training and the establishment of 58 orphanages, day-care centres, clinics, etc to attend to the needs of 5,000 children requiring institutionalization.

During President Banzer’s second term in office, her goal is to assist with the social development of Bolivia, strengthening the family, addressing the problems of children, youth, women, retirees, ethnic, and aboriginal peoples through strategies and programs which guarantee protection for vulnerable groups, the socially disadvantaged and those living in extreme poverty. In 1998 she was granted the degree, Honoris Causa by Don Bosco University of Bolivia in recognition of her assistance to children and youth.


Ruth Corręa Leite Cardoso

In addition to being the First Lady of Brazil, Mrs. Cardoso is a renowned sociologist and anthropologist, with an impressive list of publications to her name. Mrs. Cardoso has worked with numerous institutions focussing on social issues, such as the National Council for Women's Rights in Brazil, the Independent Commission on Population and Quality of Life in Paris, the Brazilian Centre for Social Analysis and Planning and a Săo Paulo Council in support of distance education.

Both in her numerous publications, and in the focus of the Community Solidarity Program, Mrs. Cardoso has demonstrated her strong interest in questions of citizenship, and the role of civil society and social movements in the consolidation of democracy. She is a highly intelligent, visionary woman who has been credited as the key force behind the social advances made to date by the Cardoso administration. Mrs. Cardoso speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French and English.


Aline Chrétien

Mrs. Aline Chrétien (née Chaîné) was born in Saint-Boniface-de-Shawinigan, Quebec on May 14, 1936. In 1957, she married Jean Chrétien now Prime Minister of Canada. Mrs. Chrétien attended the Shawinigan Business College.  She speaks Italian and Spanish as well as Canada’s two official languages. She is a member of the Toronto Conservatory of Music.

In addition to participating in Canadian political life over the past thirty years, Mrs. Chrétien has been active in a number of charitable organizations. As Honorary Chair of the National Advisory Council of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Mrs. Chrétien supports "Learning Through The Arts", a program designed to help children do well in school. She has always considered relations with the families of parliamentarians to be of great importance and is a long-time member of the Parliamentary Spouses’ Association. The Chrétiens have three children: France, Hubert and Michel; and four grandchildren.


Marta Larraechea de Frei

As Chile’s First Lady, beginning in March 1994, Marta Larraechea de Frei became president of five social foundations: INTEGRA: National Foundation for the Integral Development of Minors; ESCUELA DE LA MUJER-PRODEMU: Program directed toward women; FUNDACION DE LA FAMILIA: Family Foundation; FUNDACION TIEMPOS NUEVOS: Foundation that supports regional, cultural activities; and, COMITE PARA EL ADULTO MAYOR: Committee for Senior Citizens.

The mother of four has participated in several international events relating to social issues since 1994. During the development of the Seventh Conference of Spouses of Heads of State and Government of the Americas, she introduced the issue of Senior Citizens. In April 1999, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton presented her with the Sir George Alleyn Award from the Pan American Health Organization in recognition of her work toward the benefit of Senior Citizens.


Nohra Puyana de Pastrana

Since August 7, 1998, Nohra Puyana de Pastrana, as First Lady of the Republic of Colombia and as President of the Board of Directors of the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF), has devoted all her efforts to place the organization at the service of the community. It is from this organization that the Three Social Changes, the cornerstones of the new Government, will be launched: prevention of family violence, community nutrition and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

The mother of three is committed to social justice. She prefers to be a participant, not just a spectator and she has challenged Colombians to imagine the future and to participate in shaping the nation that they want for the generations of tomorrow. Her convictions and commitment have led her to promote programs of immense social impact for the benefit of the marginalized communities of Colombia. Her work has earned her wide recognition and awards.

Republic of Costa Rica

Lorena Clare Facio de Rodríguez Echeverría

Mrs. Lorena Clare Facio de Rodríguez Echeverría was educated in Costa Rica and France and speaks Spanish, English and French. The mother of two, with two grandchildren, was National Dressage Champion of Costa Rica 1981-86, represented her country at the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela in 1983, and was chosen Athlete of the Year in 1984-85.

Before she became First Lady in May 1998, she promoted the participation of Costa Rican women in the political field. She also championed the involvement of disabled persons in politics. She has participated in various seminars, workshops and fora on women’s issues and has done volunteer work in programs concerning abandoned children. She speaks Spanish, English and French.

Republic of Cuba

Vilma Espin Guillois

Vilma Espin Guillois is an industrial chemistry engineer who is married to Raul Castro, head of the Cuban Armed Forces and brother to Cuban President Fidel Castro. She has been President of the Federation of Cuban Women since its foundation in 1960. The organization is an ECOSOC-recognized NGO with membership of more than three and a half million women.

A member of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba, Vilma Espin headed the Cuban Delegation to the First Latin American Congress on Women and Children in Chile in September 1959. The mother of four and grandmother of seven is a member of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the communist Party of Cuba. She headed the Cuban delegation to the Conferences on Women held in Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing.

Dominican Republic

Carmen Lissette Campos de Fernandez Mirabal

Dr. Lissy Campos de Fernandez, wife of the Vice-President of the Dominican Republic, usually acts as First Lady of the Dominican Republic. Dr. Campos de Fernandez was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic on July 12, 1965. After graduating from high school, she studied at Universidad Pontificia Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic and graduated as a medical doctor, specializing as a pediatrician. She has three children.

Dr. Campos de Fernandez participates in various projects for girls and boys, including the formation of young leaders for peace. She works with the Direccion General de Promocion de la Mujer as part of a program for the prevention and elimination of abuses to women and family violence. She has participated in the Seventh and Eighth Conferences of Spouses of Heads of State and Government of the Americas held in Panama in 1997 and in Chile in 1998. She speaks fluent English and Italian. Her hobbies are reading, films and music.


Paola Mahuad

Paula Mahuad Calderon, the daughter of President Jamil Mahuad of Ecuador will represent her country at the Ninth Conference of Spouses of Heads of State and Government of the Americas. The second-year law student at the Universidad San Francisco in Quito was involved from 1988 to 1994 in the "Fundación Reina de Quito" through the Canadian program "Street Children Around the World" - Ecuador Branch. She is Honorary President of the "Beyond Boundaries Foundation". She is also a supporter of INNFA (The National Institute of the Child and the Family).

She is currently involved in a national program of prevention and assistance for pregnancy during adolescence. At the Eighth Conference of Spouses in Chile in 1998 her address was entitled: The Rights of Teenage Mothers in the New Millennium.

El Salvador

Lourdes Maria Rodriguez de Flores

Mrs. Lourdes Maria Rodriguez de Flores was born in the city of San Salvador, El Salvador. Her father was the renowned intellectual and politician, Dr. José Antonio Rodriguez Porth. She married El Salvador President Francisco Flores in 1985 and they have two children. Mrs. Flores studied in El Salvador and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Tulane University in 1975 and a Master Degree in Special Education from the University of Miami in 1982.

Working with children has allowed her to have a very positive outlook on life, despite the suffering she has endured. On June 9, 1989, a few days after her father was sworn in as Minister in the Presidency of President Alfredo Cristiani’s Cabinet, he was assassinated by urban commandos. This experience has left an indelible mark on Mrs. Flores. She is inspired in her life by her father’s work ethic and she is committed to his ideals. Her children have grown up surrounded by this spirit of strength and integrity.


Mariette Mitchell

Mrs Mariette Mitchell, wife of the Prime Minister of Grenada, has been the President of NNP Woman’s Arm since 1997. Her objective is to assist women to become self-employed. The program exists mainly in rural areas wher women depend heavily on agriculture for sustainment. One group is currently producing fruit juices for the local market while another one grows hot peppers for export. Other groups are in the planning stages for poultry and pig rearing, dried fruit preservation, and growing and packaging green peas, a seasonal delicacy. These projects have been funded primarily by micro-enterprises, and to a small extent, by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Mrs Mitchell was born in Barbados and after graduating from the School of Nursing there, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a nurse in Barbados and in the United States. She has also taught biology and science at the Happy Hill Secondary School in Grenada.


Patricia Escobar Dalton De Arzú

Patricia de Arzú was born in El Salvador on October 3, 1953. She is now a Guatemalan citizen and is married to Alvaro Arzú, who has been President of Guatemala since January 1996. They have seven children: Roberto, Diego, María, Maria Andrée, Manuel Roberto, Alvaro and Isabel. After graduating from a secretarial course in San Salvador, she studied Business Administration at the Broward Community College in Florida, U.S.A. and Philosophy at the Rafael Landívar University in Guatemala City.

As part of her duties as First Spouse in Guatemala, she chairs the General Secretariat for Social Work. It helps vulnerable children and young people through day care centres, rehabilitation programs and special education. It also has centres to provide guidance and treatment to children who have had legal problems. Mrs. Arzú is the founder of a program for the prevention and elimination of family violence; the founder of a national program for senior citizens; and the founder of the "Help Me Live" programme.


Yvonne Zereder Hinds

Mrs. Hinds is married to Samuel Hinds, who became Prime Minister of Guyana for the second time, following the election of Mrs. Janet Jagan as President in December 1997. The daughter of a schoolmaster, she became a teacher and after twenty-five years as a homemaker and community worker, she joined her husband in the campaign for free and fair elections in Guyana.

Mrs. Hinds is Chairperson of the Guyana Relief Council which is the major national body helping victims of fires and other disasters. She has earned a reputation as a hard worker dedicated to the cause of development and relief and the strengthening of families and community values. She is also the patron of the Guyana Chapter of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. She and Prime Minister Hinds have four children.


Géri Benoît-Préval

Mrs. Géri Benoît-Préval, wife of the Haitian President, started her college studies at the University of Montpellier for Law and Economics, in the South of France. She went on to graduate with a joint Bachelor and Masters degree in Marketing and Social & Commercial Communications after studying both at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and CELSA (École des Hautes Études en Information et Communications, Paris IV-Sorbonne).

Mrs. Préval has been working for the Government of Haiti since November 1995, in its foreign diplomatic corps, as a delegate of the Haitian Mission to the OAS. Her work includes dossiers on technical cooperation through the CIDI (Interamerican Council for Integral Development); sustainable development; social development; and Caribbean Affairs. She was an alternate delegate at the last General Assembly of the CIM (Interamerican Commission for Women) held in Washington, D.C., in November 1996. She is fluent in Creole, French and English. She also has some knowledge of Spanish.

Republic of Honduras

Mary Flake de Flores

Mrs. de Flores was born in Memphis, Tennessee USA, on September 25, 1950. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Textiles and Marketing at Louisiana State University, where she met her husband. They married in 1973 and moved to Tegucigalpa. They have two children: Elizabeth and Carlos David. Since she arrived in Tegucigalpa she has dedicated her life to her family, charity work in public hospitals, and promotion of national arts.

She is the founder and honorary president of the Honduran Foundation for Children with Cancer and is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Honduran Institute of Interamerican Culture. Together with the Catholic Church she supports projects for abandoned and street children. As First Lady of Honduras, she is the Honorary President of the Honduran Institute of Childhood and Family, where she promotes education and preventive health.


Lady Ivy Silvia Watson de Cooke

Her Excellency, Lady Cooke, First Lady of Jamaica, has been outstanding in the area of education. A graduate of Warsop All Age School and Bethlehem Training College for Teachers, she has also pursued courses at the Department of Child Development Institute of Education, University of London, and various educational courses at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

This extensive training has carried her into various leadership positions in the teaching field. With this background, Her Excellency has been able to make major contributions to the Latin American & Caribbean First Ladies Group on Social Programs for Mother, Child and Family since her first involvement in 1991. She has attended their international conferences and has been instrumental in guiding the organization’s affairs. She has an interest in programs for the advancement of early childhood education and the status of women, as well as rural agriculture.


Ambassador Aida González Martinez

Ambassador Aida González Martinez is President of the Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women. She has been a member of the Committee from 1982 to 1992, and from 1996 to 2000.

She has represented Mexico at numerous international conferences. Since 1995, she has been the representative of Mexico before the United Nations Commission addressing the legal and social condition of women. Ambassador Aida González Martine has been decorated by the governments of France, Italy, Panama, Poland, Sweden and Yugoslavia.


Ruby Moscoso De Young

Ruby Moscoso de Young is the older sister of Panama’s President. Throughout her life she has dedicated much of her time to helping and supporting the most needy. Because of her commitment to her fellow citizens, she has been entrusted as of September 1, 1999, with the office of First Lady of the Republic of Panama.

Born in Pedasí, a town located in the heart of the Republic of Panama, in the Province of Los Santos, she is married to Dr. Carlos Young Adames, a member f the Arnulfista Party. She is a graduate of the Justo Arosemena Institute and anages the family business of hand-made jewellery, which was established in 1980. The former victim of exile, she was appointed to the post of Consul of Panama in Miami during the government of President Guillermo Endara Galimany between 1990 and 1994. She was instrumental in securing donations for the relief efforts following the April 1991 earthquake in the areas adjoining Costa Rica.

Republic of Paraguay

Susana Galli De González Macchi

Susana Galli de González Macchi was born on August 13, 1959 in Asunción, Paraguay. She graduated from the Universidad Católica in Asunción as a Systems Analyst. The wife of the President of the Republic of Paraguay and mother of five assumed the Office of First Lady in March of 1999.

The objectives of this Office are to collaborate with and complement the social development activities of other areas of government, and to bring the citizenry and government closer together through the search for effective solutions to social problems affecting the most vulnerable in society. Particular focus is paid to the coordination of medium and long-term projects in the area of infancy, women, youth and seniors.


Keiko Sophia Fujimori Higuchi

Born in Lima, Peru on May 25, 1975, Ms. Fujimori was educated at Colegio SS. CC. Recoleta in Lima where she graduated in 1992. From 1993 to 1997, she attended Boston University`s School of Management, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her field of concentration was marketing.

As part of her activities as First Lady for her father Alberto Fujimori, she has worked with the Cardio Infantil Foundation of Peru (since 1996), raising funds to support poor children with heart problems. Since 1995 she has worked with the Peruvian Children’s Foundation, reorganizing the organization’s structure, coordinating fund-raising activities and encouraging long-term corporate sponsorships.

St. Kitts and Nevis

Veronica Liburd

Veronica Liburd, representative from St. Kitts and Nevis, is married to Cedric Liburd, Minister of Communications, Works and Public Utilities. The mother of two children received her Certificate of Education from the University of the West Indies and has continued in the teaching profession for twenty-one years, now at the primary school level.

Mrs. Liburd is involved in the Adult Literacy Programme in St. Kitts. She sits on the Board of the St. Kitts Co-operative Credit Union. In addition, she manages her school’s co-operative. In her spare time she visits with elderly and homebound persons in her community, as well as visiting those persons who are in hospital. She enjoys singing and is a choir leader.

St. Lucia

Calliopa Pearlette Louisy, GCSL

Her Excellency Calliopa Pearlette Louisy was appointed Governor-General of Saint Lucia on September 17, 1997. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados in 1969 and followed this degree with a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Laval in Quebec City in 1975 and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom in 1994. While pursuing her education, she was awarded a Canadian International Development Agency Scholarship in 1966 and a Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Award in 1972.

The author of several major papers and publications on education and its implications for small island states, Dr. Louisy gave the keynote address at the Conference on the Americas in Washington, D.C. in 1998. In 1999, she received an Honourary Doctor of Laws from the University of Bristol and was named Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG). She speaks English, French and Creole.

Trinidad & Tobago

Oma Panday

Mrs. Panday, the wife of the Hon. Basdeo Panday, Prime Minister of The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, is the mother of four girls ranging from ages 25 to 16. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Organization for Socio-Economic Development - OSED, a non-government organization. She continues to be involved as the patron of OSED in promoting its mission to improve the quality of life of the socially disposed, especially with regard to children, youth, women and senior citizens. She is a strong advocate for community involvement in the eradication of poverty.

In September 1998, Mrs. Panday represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 8 th Conference of First Ladies of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile where she spoke on the subject of rural women. With the support of the IICA, Mrs. Panday hosted the historical First Meeting of Wives of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean in July 1999. She is now a member of the Troika of the emerging network of spouses committed to developing political, social and economic leadership skills among women in the region, with particular attention to rural women.

United States of America

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of United States President William Jefferson Clinton, came to the White House after serving as First Lady of Arkansas for 12 years. During that time she managed many roles: wife, mother, and homemaker; full-time partner in a law firm; and chairwoman of an education committee that set public school standards in Arkansas. On many occasions Hillary Clinton has spoken about the need "to find the right balance in our lives." For her, the elements of that balance are family, work, and public service.

She entered Wellesley College in 1965. Graduating with honours, she moved on to Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors of the Yale Revie of Law and Social Action. While at Yale she developed her concern for protecting the interests of children and families and since has worked tirelessly on behalf of children and families.


Doctora Margarita Serra

Dr. Margarita Serra is the national director of Uruguay’s programs dealing with problems of S.I.D.A.


Marisabel Rodriguez de Chavez

Mrs. Marisabel Rodríguez Oropeza de Chávez Frías, Venezuela's First Lady,was born in Barquisimeto, Lara State, in 1964. For almost two decades, the mother of two has been working in the area of social communications, especially public relations and as editor of the social section of "EL IMPULSO" journal, one of the most important printed media in the west-center region of Venezuela.

She is also an announcer and radio producer. She produced the magazine for children "El Club de los Exploradores" and has participated as news narrator for television stations such as Telecentro and Nińos Cantores Televisión in Lara State. She has also produced the informative radio program "Líder en la Noticia". Today, Mrs. Marisabel Rodríguez de Chávez is in charge of "La Fundación del Nińo", an important institution dedicated to the well-being of Venezuelan children, which is recognized at an international level.