I have been attracted to international affairs since I was a child. Early memories of family games involving geography are interwoven with the sounds of somber radio reports – the latest news about the Falklands/Malvinas war we heard on the radio every morning before going to school. For us Chileans, the Argentina-UK conflict over the islands was being fought practically on our doorstep. On tv, the sights of Cold War crises and humanitarian disasters in various hotspots around the world made disheartening evening news.
Two female figures made an impression on me at that time: UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Karin Ebensperger, Chile’s leading international commentator. Regardless of her politics, Thatcher was an inspiration for girls around the world — a woman making key decisions on the international stage — while Ebensperger triggered the idea that the work of female international analysts was valued. My conclusion was that, beyond analysis, I wanted to find concrete ways of contributing to the peaceful settlement of international disputes. This interest endured over time, and marked my career choice.
I have had the fortune of working with some of the most distinguished international law specialists in the world. They are inspiring in many ways, not least because of their remarkable grasp of non-legal fields, including history, geography, fine arts, poetry and even mathematics. I am personally very fond of history. My happiest days as a fresher in university were those devoted to learn (and later, teach) History of Spanish and Latin American Institutions as well as Roman Law, whose principles still imbue the legal systems of the Western world.
Psychology, philosophy and performing arts are other deep interests of mine, with music topping the list (violin playing and singing have been important parts of my life). As Nietzsche said: life without music would be a mistake.
These various interests permeate my columns. Politics, public diplomacy, education, gender equality and female leadership are also recurrent in my writings.