Until the time of her passing, Karen Poniachik served as Director of the Global Center at Columbia University. During her 11 years of leading the Center, she left an important mark on the formation of the alumni community throughout Chile as well as seeking opportunities and spaces for women in leadership roles.
The Luksic Scholars Foundation expresses its deep sorrow for the early passing of Karen Poniachik, who at 57 years of age leaves a great legacy as Director of the Global Center of Columbia University, which she successfully led with great professionalism and leadership over the last 11 years.
Having studied journalism at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University, Karen always stood out for her strategic and global vision and for being in constant search of new academic horizons for Chileans and foreign students in Chile. She had the ability to create an important community of Columbia alumni throughout Chile and promoted numerous initiatives to promote the role of women in leadership positions.
Peter Morse, President of the Board of the Luksic Scholars Foundation, also expresses his deepest condolences to the family and friends of Poniachik: “We will always remember Karen with special affection, and we thank her for her great dedication and passion for learning. She always looked for new and innovative opportunities for collaboration between Chile and the world, and she had special leadership at the helm of the Global Center of Columbia University, an institution with which we were able to continue strengthening our ties thanks to its global and strategic vision.” “We especially appreciate the great contribution she made to build bridges between Chile and leading international centers of research,” Morse also comments.
Throughout her career, Karen held various positions, both in the public and private spheres. Between 1995 and 2000, she was the Director of Business Programs at the Council of the Americas in New York. She was also a consultant for private companies and for the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Finance. During the government administration of President Ricardo Lagos, she held the position of Executive Vice President of the Foreign Investment Committee (CEI), from March 2000 to March 2006. Later, during the first government of President Michelle Bachelet, she became Minister of Mining, becoming the first woman in history to hold this position.