Carolina Isakson was born on January 6, 1930 in York, Pennsylvania. Her father, Carl Oscar Isakson, was a U.S. oil company executive who worked in Latin America. At the age of seven her family went to live in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander, Colombia, the city she adopted as her home town. For a time, she studied at the same high school as Edelmira Barco, through whom she met her husband, Virgilio.

At the age of 14 she traveled to the United States to study at the Castilleja high school, in Palo Alto, California. She entered Stanford University, where she majored in Latin American Studies and then obtained her Masters in Spanish Language and Literature at Boston University. In 1950 she married Virgilio Barco and accompanied him throughout his agitated political life. In 1976 she became a Colombian citizen.

She always maintained a strong interest in the well-being of the people and the culture of her adopted country and, as First Lady, she played a leading role in the establishment of the day centers of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (Bienestar Familiar) under the novel scheme of childcare by “Community Mothers”. In that period she also supported the Fundación Matamoros, which works to help soldiers wounded in combat, and she actively participated in the Cultural Heritage Board of the Central Bank, the Banco de la República.

She was a founding member of the Profamilia family planning association and served on its board of directors for many years. With a group of friends she created the Fundación Pro Arte de la Música to promote the musical events in the country. She was also a member of the boards of directors of the Association of Friends of the General Archive of the Nation, the Natura Foundation, the British Cemetery, and Friends of the National Museum.

Carolina died in Bogotá on January 24, 2012.

❱ FOLLETO Programa de Bienestar | English translation

❱ Presentation of Colombia's Bienestar program by Mrs Carolina de Barco, at the opening meeting of CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE CONFERENCE. MARCH 24, 1988 - WASHINGTON D.C