Arnoldo André: From A Coffee Farm To The Costa Rican Ministry Of Foreign Affairs And Worship

    We had an exclusive conversation with the Minister who in every aspect of his life does not cease to practice honesty, excellence, and commitment to the common good...

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    Each person has a story to tell, a unique moment, experiences, and with them, lessons for life, slogans, and approaches that motivate them to achieve their purposes, our TCRN team believes that an athlete, artist, journalist, or politician beyond their professional functions, is a human being who can always be an inspiration to others, on this occasion, we talked to a very particular tico.

    Through a pleasant interview with Mr. Arnoldo André, better known as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica, he told his story, his experiences, and how they have shaped the man he is today, taking into account every path of his life the values of his parents: honesty, discipline, perseverance, and respect for others, which guide him in every decision and every action.

    Don Arnoldo was born 63 years ago and grew up in Tres Ríos, a town between San José and Cartago, which is characterized by coffee production. 

    In Tres Ríos, his family has a coffee farm that has been passed from generation to generation, since his great-grandfather acquired it in 1904, where he spent his childhood.

    Regarding his kindergarten, elementary, and high school education, “I studied at the Humboldt School, a place where I have fond memories and excellent friends” said André.

    Regarding his university education, since 1984 he has a degree in Law and Notary Public from the University of Costa Rica, he is also a Doctor in Law (1984-1988) (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and in 2003 he completed his studies in INCAE (Legal Aspects of International Business) at George Town University, Washington. He speaks his native language, Spanish, and two other languages: English and German.

    Who, whom, or what led him to study law?

    Don Arnoldo’s interest in studying law arose from his desire to contribute to development and justice in Costa Rica, as well as to come to understand the social architecture of the country. “The example of Costa Ricans committed to the welfare of society motivated me to pursue this career with determination and vocation of service.”

    The doctorate in International Law, which he completed at the University of Hamburg, Germany, was through a scholarship “Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst” (German Academic Exchange Service): a German organization that promotes academic exchange and international cooperation in the field of higher education.

    Referring to the studies and the different countries he has been to, including Costa Rica, the Minister shared with our team how he considers each specialization and the university or institute he attended. For him, each academic experience has been invaluable in his professional and personal development. “In a few words, I can say that each one has provided a unique and complementary perspective to my legal education, from the ability to connect with other cultures and the opportunity to exchange best practices,” he said.

    As a professor of International Law (1984-1994) at the University of Costa Rica, what did he emphasize most to his students at that time? Would he teach again today?

    As a professor of International Law, Don Arnoldo emphasized on instilling in his students a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of international law and its application in the global context. He always emphasized the importance of international justice and diplomacy in resolving conflicts between nations.

    “As to whether I would teach again today, I would consider this possibility with enthusiasm. The opportunity to share knowledge, foster critical thinking, and contribute to the academic development of students is a rewarding experience that I would always be willing to return to. Education is a fundamental pillar for the progress of society, and the classroom is a space where ideas are cultivated and future leaders and professionals are formed,” said Minister André.

    Arnoldo André was part of the law firm Lexincorp, where he was also a founding partner (2008-2022).

    How were those relations with Lexincorp and what was the experience like, anything special that you remember?

    The also Costa Rican lawyer, defined as an enriching experience the fact of having put into practice his knowledge and fulfilling responsibilities in Lexincorp. “I maintain good relations with my colleagues throughout Central America and I fondly remember the challenges and achievements shared during that time. However, due to my duties as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I am not connected with the firm at this time”.

    Knowing that the Minister was President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Central American country (2010-2013), we asked him how the relations with the current Chamber and what he told us about the progress and work?

    According to Don Arnoldo’s answer, his relationship with the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce was an opportunity to contribute to the economic development of the country during the three years he served as President. “The relations with the current Chamber are cordial and I am sure that it will continue working for the business progress of our country”.

    The Arnoldo that few know…

    Mottos approaches, and principles that characterize Minister Arnoldo André: “My mottos are honesty, excellence, and commitment to the common good. I always seek to act with integrity and empathy in my actions”.

    Virtues and defects as a person, according to his point of view: “Among my virtues, I consider that I have a strong sense of responsibility and dedication in what I undertake. I am deeply committed to the tasks I perform and always seek to be fair in my actions. In addition, I value honesty and integrity as fundamental principles in my personal and professional life, and as for my areas of improvement or possible shortcomings, I recognize that sometimes I can be too demanding on myself, leaving aside the necessary time to rest and share with my family and friends,” said the Minister.

    Who oriented you to the world of politics, Did you ever visualize yourself in important positions such as the one you assume today? “My interest in politics arose from my commitment to public service and the welfare of my country. I have always been open to assuming important positions if I can contribute in a significant way to the development of Costa Rica. This is the first time I have participated in politics and this political exercise was initiated by a group of citizens with three clear ideas to generate prosperity for Costa Ricans: lower the cost of living, generate employment, and fight corruption” he emphasized.

    Since you have been in the world of politics and foreign relations, how do you see yourself in a few years; what do you consider you still have to do both personally and in your current position?

    Don Arnoldo, has always visualized himself working hard for a better and more prosperous country for future generations, therefore, he is constantly focused on tirelessly exercising his functions to consolidate strategic alliances, to promote sustainable development and the welfare of Costa Rica. 

    “I am convinced that there are always areas for improvement and I assume this with an attitude of continuous learning. During my time as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I will continue to work on the implementation of policies that strengthen Costa Rica’s position in the international arena and promote the country’s economic and social development. This includes continuing to promote economic diplomacy to attract foreign investment, promote international trade, and foster cooperation in key areas such as education, health, and technology,” he added.

    What inspires him about Costa Rica? For the Minister, Costa Rica is a constant source of inspiration. Biodiversity and commitment to environmental preservation are a compass in its foreign policy. From his knowledge, the country is home to an incredible variety of ecosystems, from tropical rainforests to volcanoes, paradisiacal beaches, and mangroves; the natural diversity and commitment to the protection of the ocean and marine ecosystems drive him to work for their preservation.

    André also referred to Costa Rica’s culture of peace and democracy, which is a constant source of personal inspiration. Costa Rica has been an example in the region and the world for its commitment to democracy, human rights, and social justice, so working to maintain that stability also guides his actions and decisions in his work as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    “Costa Rica’s openness to innovation and sustainable development are aspects that deeply inspire me. The country has been a pioneer in environmental policies and the promotion of renewable energy, showing the world that it is possible to move towards a greener and more equitable future. In short, Costa Rica’s natural beauty, democratic culture, authentic gastronomy, and optimistic attitude are endless sources of inspiration for me, driving me to work for a better future for my country and the world,” he said.

    Relations and purposes in favor of Costa Rica

    Regarding diplomatic relations, how are they today, and if you can also mention future benefits for Costa Rica?

    Regarding diplomatic relations, the Minister assured that they are solid and are focused on promoting peace, the promotion and defense of human rights, development, and international cooperation, both at bilateral and multilateral levels. 

    Thus, he said that in a global context marked by geopolitical tensions, the conduct of Costa Rican foreign policy remains oriented towards the promotion and defense of peace and human rights, the fight against climate change, and the blue diplomacy agenda for the protection of the ocean, the attraction of foreign investment, multilateralism and the search for strategic alliances and more cooperation to address national and regional challenges.

    Subsequently, the migration challenges of the last two years have demanded a coordinated inter-agency response, intensifying efforts to attract more cooperation and address pressing humanitarian needs, while designing sustainable solutions to ensure safe, regular, and orderly migration, with a humanitarian approach. 

    In this context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship continues to generate actions in favor of development cooperation aimed at improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations and building more resilient societies. 

    Taking into account climate action, during the period 2023-2024, “Costa Rica has reaffirmed the blue diplomacy agenda and, by June 2024, will carry out the high-level event called “Immersed in Change”: high-level activity before the Third United Nations Ocean Summit, to be held in 2025, in the city of Nice, France and which Costa Rica is co-hosting with the French Republic,” he reported.

    Thus, the active promotion of ocean protection, the preservation of its resources, and awareness of its importance resonate as fundamental pillars in the country’s international agenda. “Blue diplomacy not only represents a commitment to environmental sustainability but also demonstrates a firm conviction in global cooperation to face crucial challenges in an interconnected world.” 

    Mr. Arnoldo explained that his vision and that of his team is based on three fundamental pillars that have a crucial influence on the definition and execution of the country’s international presence:

    ✓The defense of democracy, territorial integrity, and national sovereignty.

    ✓ The promotion, protection, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    ✓ The promotion of sustainable development, environmental sustainability, and measures against climate change. 

    ✓ The promotion of peace, disarmament, and national, regional, and global security.

    ✓ And, the strengthening of international law and the development of effective multilateralism.

    Annual meeting with ambassadors of the European Union

    The annual meeting with ambassadors of the European Union (E.U.) took place recently and before this activity, we asked Minister Arnoldo the following questions: How are the relations between Costa Rica and the E.U. maintained, can you tell us what was discussed about the country?

    André answered concisely that the relations between Costa Rica and the European Union are solid and are based on mutual respect and cooperation.

    The annual meeting discussed various topics of common interest, including democracy and its values, trade, investment, and environmental sustainability. “The European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean are two natural allies. We are united by history, values, and a similar vision of the world. Dialogue in this type of forum is a clear demonstration that the problems that affect us do not recognize borders and that the solution to these challenges can only be achieved through collaboration, trust, mutual respect, and solidarity.”

    Annual CELAC meeting and meeting with the Secretary of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres

    Regarding the annual CELAC meeting and Minister Arnoldo’s meeting with the Secretary of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, what was discussed about proposals, progress, and actions from or for Costa Rica in the face of Climate Change?

    We discussed the urgency of taking concrete measures to address climate change. Costa Rica is committed to leading regional and international efforts to face this challenge.

    “In this space for conversation, we discussed the possibilities of working together on environmental issues, particularly given the Pro Tempore Presidency of the G20 that Brazil holds in 2024, as well as the celebration of the Thirtieth Conference on Climate Change, to be held in the South American country in November 2025. They also discussed the regional situation, including the Central American Integration System, the challenges derived from migratory flows in the region, and the upcoming Summit of the Future at the UN headquarters in New York, to be held in September of this year, as well as the armed conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine,” he explained.

    Likewise, the authorities reviewed the ocean action agenda, which included the High-Level Ocean Event “Immersed in Change”, to be held in San José, on June 7 and 8 this year; and the Third Ocean Conference, to be held in Nice, in June 2025, co-hosted by Costa Rica and France.

    With so many foreigners coming to Costa Rica, from different religions, what is the Minister’s thinking regarding free worship and even ancestral practices in the country?

    “Regarding free worship, I believe it is a fundamental right that must be respected in any democratic society and that it is an expression of freedom of conscience and cultural diversity that enriches society. As a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, I promote religious tolerance and defend the freedom of each individual to practice his or her faith without any discrimination or restrictions,” he answered

    At the end of our pleasant conversation with Mr. Arnoldo André, he shared a message with Costa Rican citizens, and readers of the world:

    “In a world marked by constant change and significant geopolitical tensions, the practice of Diplomacy demands the highest commitment to excellence, responsibility, and constant professional updating.

    The ability to read deeply, write accurately, think critically, collaborate in teams, and adapt to change with flexibility and creativity are essential tools in our century. 


    I firmly believe that teamwork must be a driving force behind innovative and creative projects and strategies that improve the quality of life in our communities. We must adopt a critical and proactive approach to reorient our actions for the benefit of future generations, taking advantage of the tools provided by economic diplomacy, science diplomacy, and digital diplomacy in a context of dizzying changes that require prudence, agility, and mastery of new languages”.

    Undoubtedly, we are pleased to capture here the essence of a character, an authority, a man, a human being studious in every sense, committed and visionary, always focused on the common good and progress.

    Learn about all the activities of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship through his personal and institutional accounts on the different social networks: Instagram @arnoldo_andre_t @cancilleriacr; Facebook get it as Arnoldo Andre and Ministerio Relaciones Exteriores y Culto; on LinkedIn as Arnoldo Andre-Tinoco and follow him on Twitter @ArnoldoAndreT and @CRcancilleria.

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel
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