Antonio R. Parra is retiring from the service of the World Bank Group's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) at the end of September 2005, on completion of his term as the first Deputy Secretary-General of ICSID. In October 2005, Mr. Parra will be taking up an appointment as Visiting Professor at University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws. He will in that capacity be teaching in the LL.M. program and contributing to the establishment of a new program on international arbitration at UCL's Centre for International Courts and Tribunals.
The fact that ICSID has grown immensely, gaining relevance and importance both within and outside the World Bank Group, is a credit to Mr. Parra's talent, dedication and professionalism. He joined the World Bank Group in 1984 as Counsel in the Institutional and Policy Affairs Unit of the Bank's Legal Department. The following year, he was transferred to the Office of the Bank's Vice President and General Counsel where his duties included working on the establishment of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency. In 1988, Mr. Parra was appointed Senior Counsel, ICSID. He was promoted to Legal Adviser, ICSID in 1990 and participated in the preparation of the 1992 World Bank Guidelines on the Treatment of Foreign Direct Investment. The Administrative Council of ICSID elected Mr. Parra to be Deputy Secretary-General in 1999 for a full term of six years under the ICSID Convention. In recognition of his outstanding leadership qualities, in 1999, Mr. Parra received the World Bank Group Staff Association Good Manager Award. He also was one of the first seven recipients of the World Bank Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award in 2004.
Mr. Parra is well-known for his academic work and intellectual contributions. From 1987 to 2003, he was Managing Editor of the ICSID Review—Foreign Investment Law Journal and has since been its Editor-in-Chief.
In 2004, he was elected Secretary General of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration.
Antonio leaves a very strong legacy in ICSID, which during his tenure became the premier investor-State arbitration center. He has also assembled a very competent and cohesive team which appreciates him fondly. We all wish him the best in the new chapter of his life which he will start next October.