Juan Carlos Salazar, LLM'00, elected Secretary General of ICAO

Juan Carlos Salazar, LLM 2000. Description: A white man with silver hair and dark framed glasses. He wear  a dark suit over a blue shirt. His arms are crossed. He is standing outside and smiling.
Published: 26 February 2021

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law is pleased to announce that Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar, LLM'00, has just been appointed as the next Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Montreal-based United Nations specialised agency responsible for aviation safety and security. His appointment came after a competitive campaign against other high-profile candidates and two intense rounds of voting, and his three-year renewable term will begin on 1 August 2021.

“I feel quite emotional as we celebrate Mr. Salazar’s election as Secretary General on the very cusp of the IASL's 70th anniversary year”, Director of the Institute, Professor Brian F. Havel said. “His appointment is so richly deserved and brings honour to Colombia, to Latin America, and to all of us who are fortunate to have had professional contact with him over the years”.

Mr. Salazar obtained his LLM in Air and Space Law in 2000 from the Faculty of Law of McGill University. During his studies, because of his sociable nature and leadership abilities, he was elected class president. Following graduation, he remained an active alumnus and ardent supporter of the IASL, and went on to establish the Latin American chapter of the IASL Alumni Association. Throughout the years, he has organised and helped coordinate a number of IASL conferences and alumni events in Bogota, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

Mr Salazar’s long and extensive career in international civil aviation spans over 26 years, during which he fulfilled various senior roles in multilateral transport negotiations, aviation management, and air transport policy, in Latin America and the Middle East. A regular attendee and speaker at the annual McGill Aviation Liability, Insurance and Finance Conferences, Mr. Salazar has worked tirelessly to promote the development of air law not only in his home country, Colombia, but also in Latin America as a whole through the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC), where he served as President. Currently the Director General of the Colombia Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Salazar previously served as a Senior Advisor to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Civil Aviation Authority. In addition to his impressive professional portfolio with extensive experience working with civil aviation authorities around the world, Mr. Salazar also maintains close ties with academia. He has guest-lectured on air and space law and air carrier liability at the IASL and in Colombia.

Mr. Salazar’s appointment to the role of the ICAO Secretary General is a testament to the value of the world-class education from McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law. In 1996, ICAO bestowed the Edward Warner Award on the Institute in recognition of its “unparalleled contributions to the development of international air law and to the examination of contemporary aviation issues.” Since ICAO's inception, the organisation has benefitted from dozens of IASL graduates filling many senior positions in the Secretariat, on the Council and in national delegations. However, Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar is the first IASL graduate to become Secretary General.

With the appointment of Mr. Salazar, it is hoped that the special ties between the Institute and the world’s foremost international aviation organisation will continue to be as strong as ever.

We wish our friend and alumnus Juan Carlos Salazar every success as he undertakes his global leadership mandate at this pivotal moment for international aviation.

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