Veronica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the president of Chile visited Ewha to receive an honorary doctorate in political science on November 11 at the LG Conventional Hall. Invited guests included Kim Yun-ok ('70, Health Education), who is the first lady of Korea, ambassadors from other nations, Yoon Hoo-jeong, the chairperson of Ewha Haktang and Ewha President Lee Bae-yong.
Born in 1951 in Santiago, Bachelet is the first female president in Chile and was the first female secretary of state in Latin America. Bachelet's father was brutally tortured and oppressed by the military dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. After the death of her father by torture, Bachelet and her mother spent four years in exile at Australia. Bachelet then returend to complete medical school at the University of Chile.
After moving her career to the government of Chile, she worked as the minister of health and minister of defense. She gained support from the public and was elected as the first female president of Chile in 2006.
Bachelet's achievements include breaking up the remnants of military dictatorship in Chile, promoting gender equality in the cabinet (10 female members and 10 male members) and implementing female centered policies to provide better living standards for women.
Lee Kyung-sook, dean of graduate school of Ewha said, "President Bachelet not only showed female leadership in Chile as the first female president, but also practiced the politics for the public, enforced the rights of minorities and actualized gender equality."
Bachelet gave a speech on her political experience as well as her future goals. "We have tried and done much to improve the status of women in Chile. However, it is not enough and we need to try harder for equality. Equality is after all, democracy," said Bachelet mentioning about her early childhood and political life. Bachelet said that she was proud to witness a prestigious university established for the education of women and to strengthen their position in the society.
"In Chile, when I visited a preschool, a five year-old boy said that he wanted to become president in the future, but he said because only women are able to become the president in Chile, it would be hard for him. As such, Chileans are dreaming of much bigger goals, regardless of their gender," she said.
At the reception, Bachelet greeted the Chilean students studying and residing in Korea. Bachelet participated in the two-day High-Level South Korea-Latin American Continent Forum from November 10 to November 11 before visiting Ewha.