Main menu

Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado

Former Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Panama

Isabel de Saint Malo is the former vice president and foreign affairs minister of Panama. She has over 30 years of experience in consulting, development, and implementation of public policies in Latin America. In 2014, she became the first woman to be elected to the vice presidency as well as the first woman appointed as foreign minister in the history of Panama.

Prior to holding office, she worked for 15 years with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Panama, occupying different positions, including assistant representative and program manager. From UNDP, she led the team that designed and executed the Agreements Panama 2000 (“Acuerdos Panamá 2000”), where the framework for the legislation of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) was created with the support and agreement of government, political parties, and the private and labor sectors, as well as civil society. She participated as facilitator of over a dozen dialogue and consensus building processes around development issues in several countries in Latin America, acquiring strong skills on bringing together diverse views and constructing a common agenda with the participation of different sectors.

The former vice president has been a member of different boards of directors including Banco BBVA and Fundación Democracia y Libertad. She was also a founding member of Women Corporate Directors Association of Panama and is a fellow of the Central American Leadership Initiative ("CALI") and the Aspen Institute (2008). She was a founder of the Global Shapers hub of Panama City, an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to develop the potential of young leaders. The WEF also appointed her as an expert to the Global Agenda Council on Transparency (2014).

Saint Malo is a champion in issues related to transparency, the fight against corruption, and gender equality. As the Latin American and Caribbean Champion for the UN Women-ILO-OECD initiative “Equal Pay International Coalition” and the leader of the IDB-WEF Panama’s Gender Parity Taskforce, she was instrumental in promoting the implementation of policies to ensure gender equality for Panama and internationally. Upon the end of her term as vice president, she was invited for the fall semester of 2019 as a resident fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she led a study group on foreign policy and the global development agenda.