A Former UN Ambassador Building Expertise in Diplomacy

Carlos Ruiz Hernandez
MIPP ’17
Former Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the United Nations

Serving one’s country as an ambassador to the United Nations is a remarkable achievement that many would consider the culmination of a career. For Carlos, representing the Republic of Panama at the UN inspired a drive to gain further expertise in diplomacy.

A lawyer by training, Carlos worked on sustainable development policies at the UN. He decided a broader focus would help him serve Panama on the world stage, and he enrolled in the Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. The school’s reputation for developing talented professionals and its proximity to policymaking and think tanks were important factors, Carlos said.

With courses on international law and US constitutional law, Carlos is building on his professional background. He has also had opportunities to expand his education outside the classroom such as a study trek to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where Carlos had the unique opportunity to consult with current officials and walk the same halls in which he served as a top diplomat of his country, but this time from the perspective of a graduate student.

Carlos said it has been exciting to be surrounded by great authors and public intellectuals on the faculty who frequently appear in the media to comment on global issues. One of his favorite classes was taught by renowned Latin America expert Piero Gleijeses exploring U.S. handling of crises in the developing world. The class provided insights on historic situations that have shaped U.S. policies toward Latin America and revealed the reasons behind why things work the way they do in the region. Carlos said his studies have made him a more versatile diplomat who can build stronger partnerships using international law.

After completing his degree, Carlos plans to continue working on sustainable development and become a foreign affairs expert who decision-makers can rely on in his native Panama.