Fernando Ayala
Joined Meer in January 2018
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Fernando Ayala

Fernando Ayala is an adjunct professor at the Institute of Political Science of the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile, where he has been teaching the course "Foreign Policy of Chile" since 2023.

Previously, until September 2022, he was Undersecretary of Defense appointed by President Gabriel Boric. Between 2020-2022 he held the position of Deputy Director of Strategic Development and Institutional Relations at the University of Chile. Between 2018-20 he worked as a UN official at FAO, Rome, in the South-South Cooperation Division as a Special Advisor for Parliamentary Affairs, dealing with ways of associativity, parliamentary issues, and South-South cooperation. During 2018 he was part of the organizing team of the first Parliamentary Global Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition held in Madrid. He coordinated and engaged the participation of national parliaments in different continents working closely with the sponsors of the Summit, such as the Spanish International Cooperation Agency and the European Commission.

Ayala resigned as Ambassador of Chile on March 10, 2018, and with it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he spent 36 years. In his diplomatic career, he served as an Ambassador in Asia, Vietnam, the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, and Grenada. In Europe, he was Ambassador to Portugal and Italy, accredited to FAO, WFP (World Food Program), and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), simultaneously also in Malta and San Marino.

He holds a degree in economics from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and a master's degree in political science and international relations from the Catholic University of Chile. He also completed his studies at the Diplomatic Academy of Chile and completed a year of History at the University of Chile.

His first diplomatic post was in Ecuador, for a few months of practice, and then South Korea (between 1985 and 1988), where he worked at the Chilean Embassy in Seoul. He was Chargé d'Affaires a.i. for one year. Among other matters, he was in charge of supporting Chile's participation in the Pacific Business Organizations, which later became APEC. In 1988 he was sent as Consul to Stockholm where he remained until 1991, when he returned to Santiago to work in the Europe Department as an analyst during the Yugoslavian civil war. Subsequently, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Administrative Director General. In December 1994 he was assigned to reopen the Consulate General of Chile in Chicago, where he remained for 5 years. His main task was to support the negotiating efforts for the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. He organized and led 3 business missions to Chile headed by the governors of Wisconsin, Ohio and Missouri respectively, along with marking a strong cultural presence of Chile in Chicago.

Back in Chile, between 1999 and 2001 he worked as an analyst in the General Economic Directorate, in the department that negotiated the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

Subsequently, he became Chief of Staff to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs until 2002, when he moved on to political tasks in the government of former President Ricardo Lagos, working in La Moneda as Chief of Staff to the Minister Secretary General of Government. In 2003, he advised the Minister of Education for a few months and then left to become Consul General of Chile in Milan, Italy. While there, he was promoted to the rank of Ambassador of Chile and assigned to Vietnam, where he remained until 2004. He was in charge of opening the Embassy and was the first Ambassador to that country. He focused mainly on economic and commercial promotion tasks, supporting Chilean companies and representatives. In 2006 he was called by the newly elected President Michelle Bachelet to accompany her as her General Director of Ceremonial and Protocol, a position he held for 3 and a half years until 2009. He was in charge of organizing and accompanying the President on all her international trips.

At the same time, he was a professor at the School of Political Science of the Universidad Diego Portales, teaching the course "Chile and the International System". In July 2009 he assumed as Ambassador to Portugal where he stayed until 2012, when he was transferred to Trinidad and Tobago, concurrent in five countries. His stay in the Caribbean allowed him to become acquainted with the political, economic, and social realities of that region. In 2014 he became Ambassador of Chile in Italy where he developed a wide network of contacts, especially in the economic and commercial area inviting entrepreneurs to visit and invest in Chile. He also accompanied the Italian Premier, Matteo Renzi, on a 3-day visit to Chile together with a hundred businessmen.

Ayala has been decorated by several governments, including Italy, France, and The Netherlands, among others. He has also published specialized articles in the press in Chile, the United States, and Spain. Since 2018 he has regularly written about international politics in Wall Street International Magazine (www.wsimag.com), today Meer (www.meer.com), which publishes his articles in Spanish, English, Italian, and German. He also writes for national publications such as The Clinic (www.theclinic.cl ), La Mirada Semanal (www.lamiradasemanal.cl), Other News (www.other-news.info ), and SurySur (www.surysur.net).

In addition to his native Spanish, he speaks fluent English, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Portuguese, some French, and a bit of German. He is married to Anke Kessler, a German national, and is the father of two children.

Articles by Fernando Ayala

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