On September 20, 2006, the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) unanimously elected Ms. Ana Palacio as the Centre’s new Secretary-General. Ms. Palacio, a Spanish national, was appointed Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel in June 2006.
Ms. Palacio was previously a member of the Spanish Parliament, where she chaired the Joint Committee of the two Houses for European Union Affairs. She held this post from 2004 until taking up her new World Bank duties in late August 2006. From 2002 to 2004, Ms. Palacio served as Foreign Minister of Spain under Prime Minister José María Aznar. As the first woman Foreign Minister in Spain, she held at the time the most senior post ever to have been filled by a woman in the Spanish Government. During her tenure as Foreign Minister, Ms. Palacio also represented Spain on the Praesidium of the European Convention where she was actively involved in the debate and in the drafting of legislative texts concerning reforms of the treaties governing the European Union.
Before joining the Spanish Government as Foreign Minister, Ms. Palacio was a member of the European Parliament during the 4th (1994-1999) and 5th (1999-2002) sessions of legislatures. She chaired a number of Parliamentary Committees including the Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committee (1999-2001) and the Justice and Home Affairs Committee (2001-2002). She was also elected to chair the Conference of Committee Chairmen, the Parliament’s most senior body for the coordination of its legislative work, in two half legislatures (1999 and 2001). Ms. Palacio’s work at the European Parliament focused on legislation concerning the internal market and on security and human rights issues.
A lawyer by profession, Ms. Palacio has held a number of senior positions in the governing bodies of the Madrid Bar, as well as the European Bar. She is an honorary member of the Bar of England and Wales. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees and former Executive President of the Academy of European Law; and Distinguished Professor of the European College in Parma. Ms. Palacio holds a Law Degree from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia and a BA in Political Science and Sociology (with Award for Academic Achievement) from the Universidad Complutense in Spain. She graduated from the Lycée Français (Baccalauréat in Mathematics).
Ms. Palacio’s outside activities have included serving on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and on the Advisory Boards of a number of institutions and foundations. Ms. Palacio is also a member of the Global Advisory Council of The American Interest and of Revue de Droit de l’Union européenne, in which she regularly publishes articles. She has published extensively in a number of international political journals, including Foreign Affairs and Géopolitique, and has been listed by the Wall Street Journal among the 75 global opinion leaders. In October 2001, the same newspaper published a feature article on her in its supplement on 12 influential players on the world business stage.
ICSID is the World Bank Group organization that provides facilities for the conciliation and arbitration of disputes between governments and foreign investors. ICSID also conducts research and publishing activities in the area of arbitration law and foreign investment law.