Mabel Gisela Torres: Colombia's first Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation

Last week, Colombia's president Ivan Duque named scientist Mabel Gisela Torres as the minister of the newest Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry

Mabel Gisela Torres, Colombia's first Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Mabel Gisela Torres, Colombia's first Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. / Photo: Presidency / Composition: LatinAmerican Post

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: Mabel Gisela Torres: primera ministra de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de Colombia

Ivan Duque signed in November of 2019 a decree that established the structure of the new Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation that will replace Colciencias and, according to RCN, will have more resources for scientific research and innovation. 

This new office will be “the governing body of science, technology and innovation policy, which builds capacity, promotes scientific and technological knowledge, contributes to the development and growth of the country and anticipates future technological challenges, always seeking the well-being of Colombians and consolidate a more productive economy”. 

Torres is a biochemist with a master's in microbiology from the Universidad del Valle in Cali. She also has a Ph.D. in biological sciences, a Ph.D. in fungi systematics from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and a master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship obtained at the University of Barcelona (Spain). 

“I want to emphasize that Mabel Torres has won many awards, awards for excellence teacher, as an Afro-Colombian leader, ” said the president in the public designation on December 30. 

"Her mandate is to work with all of us so that science, technology, and innovation grow and flourish in the country”, added Ivan Duque. 

After studying nine years abroad, Torres returned to the Department of Chocó, where she is from, and she founded Selvaceútica, with Aura González and Yini Cuesta, a cosmetics company that aims to reconcile economics, science and ancestral knowledge and help many families that for decades were plagued by violence. 

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According to Semana, this company moves around $ 50,000 in sales per year and is based in the natural wealth of Mabel's region, where fruits and seeds as the borojó, the asaí, the turmeric, and the axiote grow and, thanks to Selvaceútica, are now part of the best cosmetology, therapeutic and medicinal products in stores. 

Torres was also part of the Wise Commission, which promoted the National Government, under the leadership of Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez.

Among her many accolades are, according to Finance Colombia, the ‘Afro-Colombian of the Year’ in the ‘Science and Technology’ category, awarded by the Color de Colombia-El Espectador Foundation; ‘The Best Coo’, Social category, granted by Coomeva Cooperativa; Globalizer Program Social Innovator of the world, granted by Ashoka-IKEA, Delf-Netherlands; and she was the winner of the Teaching Excellence Contest of the National University of Colombia.

At the end of the designation, the president extended his thanks to the first Minister of Science for her “life at the service of science and technology in the territories, motivating many children and young people to enter this path”. 

Among Torres' functions are the start-up of the National Science and Technology System, the application of the recommendations of the Mission of Sages and budget strengthening of the sector.