Media Advisory: Michelle Bachelet to speak on campus May 4

Contact: Kathleen Maclay
(510) 643-5651

ATTENTION: Reporters and editors covering higher education, international affairs, human rights and Latin America


In 2008, Bachelet led a Chilean delegation to California and UC Berkeley as California and Chile established a “Partnership for the 21st Century” to foster collaboration among the three entities.

Harley Shaiken, chair of CLAS and a UC Berkeley professor of geography and education, said Bachelet’s return trip to campus reflects her appreciation of UC Berkeley’s “long tradition of exceptional scholarship and our commitment as a campus to issues of human rights and sustainable development.

Bachelet ventured into politics while studying medicine at the University of Chile in the early 1970s. The 1973 coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power interrupted her life and studies. Her father, an air force general, was arrested and died in prison, and she and her mother were detained and tortured. After her release in 1975, Bachelet went into exile, returning in 1979 to Chile to hold public health posts and to serve as minister of health and minister of defense before becoming president. While president, she established many innovative social programs, addressed issues of poverty, enhanced the country’s competitiveness, and successfully guided Chile though the worldwide economic downturn.

Chile has generated recent headlines following a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake. UC Berkeley experts in engineering and other fields are involved in assessing the damage and rebuilding.


Bachelet’s address will be at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 4


UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall Auditorium, near the center of campus, just northeast of Sather Gate. Click here for a campus map.


Michelle Bachelet, the president of Chile from 2006 to February 2010 and South America’s first woman president elected in her own right, will deliver a special address, “Progressive Change in Latin America: The Chilean Path,” at the University of California, Berkeley.

The speech will take place during Bachelet’s May 2-7 visit to campus as a guest of the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS). It will be free and open to the public, and Webcast at at a later date. Bachelet also will meet with students and faculty while at UC Berkeley.


Free tickets to the talk will be available through Cal Performances today (Thursday, April 21) and at the door on the day of the event. Please check the CLAS Web site for a link and more information.

CLAS is soliciting short, single-topic questions for Bachelet to answer at the event. Individuals planning to attend her talk should e-mail their questions to Dionicia Ramos at