Luis Gilberto Murillo
Luis Gilberto Murillo has been a catalytic force in creating links between Afro-Colombian and African–American civil society, the public, and popular elected leaders. He is a well-known political advocate for U.S. aid that promotes peace with justice, both in Colombia and around the world and calls for board changes in U.S. foreign policy. In the last four years, Murillo Urrutia has led a social and political coalition to transform the state in Chocó, Colombia. He is working for peace and development in the predominantly Afrocolombian pacific region.
Murillo served as Governor of Chocó in 2012. He recently successfully led, in Chocó, the reelection campaign of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Murillo Urrutia continues to lead development and leadership projects in Chocó and the pacific Coast of Colombia. He serves as Advisor to the New Chocó Foundation and is one of the most influential Afrocolombian public figure in his native Colombia and Latin America.
Luis served as elected governor of the predominantly Afro-Colombian department of Chocó in 1989. He was also executive director and deputy director of the Chocó and Bogotá environmental protection agencies, respectively. In addition, he has been a consultant for the Environmental Research Institute for the Pacific Coast, the Colombian Ministry of Mining and Energy, and the United Nations Development Program, and has served as a peer reviewer for the World Bank. Murillo has taught environmental policy and development at top universities in Colombia.
In 2000, Governor Murillo was kidnapped in Colombia. Upon release, he fled the country with his family and received asylum in the U.S where he began work in Washington, D.C. as U.S.-Colombia Policy Coordinator and later senior international policy analyst for Lutheran World Relief (LWR). Murillo works to make the voices of marginalized Colombians heard in the policy debate in Washington, D.C. His work is part of LWR’s efforts to build peace in Colombia through local projects backed by education and advocacy in the United States.
Luis is one of the most active Afro-Colombian voices in the Washington, D.C. policy debate on Colombia. Articles quoting or about him have appeared in The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald, New Amsterdam, Chicago Tribune, and Source and Crisis magazines amongst others. Governor Murillo has been a member of the boards of directors and the advisory committees of various US-based NGOs, including the Colombian Human Rights Committee, the U.S. Office on Colombia, the Afro-Latino Development Alliance, the American Friends Service Committee and the Global Exchange Speakers Bureau to name a few.
Mr. Murillo is married and has three children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in mining and development. He has taken postgraduate courses in statistic, macroeconomics and public policy at the School of Public Policy of the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.