Dr. Mario Villarroel Lander was born in Caracas, capital of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on September 21, 1947. Married to Dr. Norka Sierraalta de Villarroel, he has four children—Mario Enrique, Miguel Ángel, Morris Enrique, and Marión Coromoto Villarroel Sierraalta.
A lawyer from the Central University of Venezuela, Dr. Villarroel also holds a PhD in Criminal Sciences and works as Professor of Criminal Law at the Holy Mary University of Caracas, Venezuela. He serves as President of the Mirandino Historical Studies Institute, an official entity dedicated to the study and dissemination of the ideas of Venezuela’s Founding Fathers. An active member of different international and Venezuelan cultural, legal, and humanitarian organizations, Dr. Villarroel has served as President of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and is currently President of the Venezuelan Red Cross Society. He has an outstanding career as practicing court lawyer in his home country. Villarroel has published various works on legal, historical, and humanitarian issues. He has attended numerous scientific, legal, and historical events in Venezuela and abroad.
In the field of humanitarian solidarity, Dr. Villarroel has repeatedly represented the Venezuelan Red Cross, a prestigious institution founded on January 30, 1895. Dr. Villarroel joined the Red Cross as a volunteer in the year of 1967; assuming its national presidency for the first time in 1978. His work has been recognized both nationally and internationally. He was Secretary General of the Inter-American Committee of the Red Cross (CORI) and he served as Chair of the Commission II (General Matters) of the XXV International Conference of the Red Cross, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 1986. Dr. Villarroel was designated President of the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies during the VI General Assembly held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 1987. He has exercised the presidency of the Henry Dunant Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. During the VII General Assembly of the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, held in October 1989 in Geneva, Switzerland, he was again elected President. To be the only candidate nominated was a true honor. In 1993, during the IX General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, he was re-elected as its President in the city of Birmingham, United Kingdom.
His professional and humanitarian work has made him recipient of the highest honors to be bestowed by the Venezuelan State, and he has received numerous awards from public and private institutions in his home country as well as from governments and public and private institutions in many foreign countries.