Ruben G. Echeverría
Director General, International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Born in Uruguay, Ruben has worked on agricultural and rural development issues since 1980. He studied Agronomy at the University of Uruguay (B.Sc. 1980) and in the early 1980s worked for the Uruguayan Land Reform Institute, heading its extension service. He studied Agriculture Economics at the University of Minnesota, USA (M.Sc. 1985 and Ph.D. 1988) with special emphasis in the economics of technical change. In the mid-1980s, as part of his Ph.D. thesis, he conducted field research in Mexico and Guatemala, based at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT-CGIAR) in Mexico.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s he worked on agricultural research policy issues and strengthening national research capacities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, based at the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) of the CGIAR, located in The Hague, Netherlands.
In 1992, he joined the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. where he worked at the Agriculture and the Environment Divisions in the preparation of several agricultural and rural development projects (loans and grants) in Latin America. From 2000 to 2004, he was Director of Agriculture and Rural Development from where he promoted the development of a regional rural development strategy for LAC; the creation of the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (Fontagro), an endowment that funds competitively regional research programs; and the creation of the Inter-Agency Group for Rural Development in LAC.
From 2004 to early 2009, he was the Executive Director of the Science Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), based at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy. From there he worked with the 15 Centers of the CGIAR on priorities and strategies, impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation and the mobilization of science.
Since March 2009 Dr. Echeverría is the Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CIAT has a global research for development mandate related to food security (rice, beans, forages, cassava, and biotechnology), management of natural resources (agronomy and soils) and policy analysis (adaptation to climate change, ecosystem services, linking farmers to markets, gender analysis, impact assessment). CIAT staff (991 total) includes 250 researchers and 400 professionals working in Asia (based in Hanoi, Vietnam), Sub-Saharan Africa (based in Nairobi, Kenya) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (from its headquarters in Cali, Colombia).
Ruben has received leadership management training at Harvard and IMD and belongs to several professional associations (IAAE, AAEA, AIARD). He is a member of the Board of PIIPA, of the Scientific Advisory Board of Catalan Institute of Agricultural Research and Technology and of the Argentinian National Academy of Agronomy and Veterinary. He chairs the International Board of Rimisp-Center for Rural Development in Latin America (RIMISP).