Miami (July 1, 2014).— The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) announced today that its Executive Director, Julio E. Muñoz, will leave his post in late December after holding the organization’s executive management for 20 years.
Muñoz, a Chilean-born journalist, is retiring after 32 years of service with IAPA and to its cause of defense of freedom of the press in the Americas. He joined the organization in 1982 as Director of the Press Institute, a post he held until becoming Executive Director in March 1994. He has been the Executive Director with the longest term of service in the history of IAPA.
“There is no doubt that we will miss Julio, one of the best officials of our organization who has worked arduously and successfully with many of our directors and presidents to keep alive the perennial hope for freedom of the press and democracy,” said Elizabeth Ballantine, the IAPA’s President and editor of The Durango Herald, Durango, Colorado.
Muñoz, who will take up academic engagements that he had postponed for “more personal times,” said that he was retiring from the IAPA “after the best period of my professional life” and from an organization “in which I was able to contribute to improve the climate of press freedom in the Americas.”
Muñoz, married with three children, is a native of Coelemu, a city close to Concepción, where he was news editor of the newspaper El Sur. He worked as a journalist in the national press and spent many years with the magazine Qué Pasa and the daily newspaper El Mercurio. He studied journalism at the University of Concepción and taught at the Catholic University of Chile, located in that city, and at the University of Miami. He has a doctorate in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, a master’s from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and a post-graduate degree from the International Centre for Higher Studies in Communication for Latin America (CIESPAL), which led him to go and live in Quito, Ecuador. He took his first steps in the United States through an IAPA scholarship and another from the Rotary Foundation of Evanston, Illinois.
During the two decades that he has worked as Executive Director of the IAPA, and under the leadership of more than 20 presidents, the organization has consolidated the support of prestigious foundations and its members. That support enabled the IAPA to have its own headquarters, Jules Dubois building, in downtown Miami, Florida, and promote the Chapultepec and Impunity projects, of great relevance for journalists and media of the Americas.
Jorge Canahuati, president of the OPSA group in Honduras and chairman of the IAPA’s Executive Committee, stressed, “Julio leaves an important legacy and a chair that will be very difficult to fill, given the quality and excellence of his leadership, manifest in the organization of two membership meetings a year, a unique characteristic of our organization, and all the projects of defense and promotion of freedom of the press that are the essence of our mission.”
Canahuati announced the creation of a Transition Committee which will have the priority mission of selecting and hiring the organization’s next Executive Director.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.